NYT Story

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NYT Story

Postby Ed » Fri May 27, 2016 5:42 pm

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Re: NYT Story

Postby Hikin_Jim » Fri May 27, 2016 5:58 pm

Yeah, I saw that. Poor lady. :(

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Re: NYT Story

Postby Wildhorse » Fri May 27, 2016 8:58 pm

I suppose hers was a good death, if there is such a thing. I doubt that I would have remained as calm as she did. She went so gently, in a sleeping bag in the wild.

The companion article in the nyt was interesting as well. I mean the one about the Appalachian Trail. It amazed me to read about how many people get noro virus on the trail. And so many ticks. I was thinking how relatively benign our mountains are here.
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Re: NYT Story

Postby RichardK » Sun May 29, 2016 8:30 am

Yes, the story is sad, but it also raises questions. If Geraldine's hiking partner was aware of her poor sense of direction, why did she allow Geraldine to continue alone? Yes, she tried to talk her out of it, but there comes a time to take someone by the arm and lead them to the car. Where was her husband when Geraldine decided to continue alone? He met the pair at prearranged locations. The partner must have abandoned the hike at one of those. Failure to stop Geraldine strikes me as being negligent almost to the point of being criminal.

Just to make things more maddening, the Portland Press Herald reports that Geraldine had a SPOT device, but left it in a motel room. That was a fatal mistake. A compass was found with the remains, but the same story says she didn't know how to use it. Huh? You hold it flat. The red end of the needle points north. Instead of waiting 26 days to die, she could have walked a simple pattern using the compass to stay in a straight line. Walk 10 paces north, 20 paces east, 30 paces south, 40 paces west, 50 paces north, etc, etc. She would have been back on the trail the first day.
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Re: NYT Story

Postby Ed » Sun May 29, 2016 11:47 am

The SPOT and the compass make this even worse than I thought. I don't necessarily blame the hiking companion and husband. I've known plenty of people who are unwise but forceful, dominating and stubborn, and can't be steered away from being dangerous to themselves by anyone. It is possible she had early but unrecognized dementia.

Lost is a broad term. Usually you know whether you are north, south, east or west of a trail or road, and steering yourself back to it with a compass is more a matter of terrain and vegetation than technique.

Evidently, there was a North Woods Law episode on the search for Geraldine. I admit to watching it now and then. In a typical episode, they nail some villain for violating the game laws, who then has to pay a fine of a few hundred dollars. Quite exciting.
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Re: NYT Story

Postby Wildhorse » Sun May 29, 2016 8:35 pm

A day or two ago the ny times reported that the most popular reader comment made about this story was one in which the poster said that any hiking off trail is foolish.

Interesting to know the public bias, I guess.
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Re: NYT Story

Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue May 31, 2016 5:49 pm

Wildhorse wrote:A day or two ago the ny times reported that the most popular reader comment made about this story was one in which the poster said that any hiking off trail is foolish.
Yeah, especially that John Muir guy. That reader comment sure nailed him. Hiking off trail? Why the very idea. ;)

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Re: NYT Story

Postby zippetydude » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:06 pm

The story was picked up by NPR today as part of a technology and nature story. They always mention that you need to know how to use a map and compass...um, this may sound dumb, but as long as you know the top of the map points north, the needle on the compass points north, and the contour lines on a topo indicate elevation change, isn't this a self-taught sort of skill? The first time I ever went backpacking my dad and I used both for navigating, neither of us ever having taken a class or been instructed in it. We just looked at it, interpreted it, and made our way around with clarity and ease. Now, to be fair we were in the Sierra and had ample visibility so we could make out notable peaks, etc., which is not likely on the Appalachian Trail. That being said, it should be pretty easy to determine the general direction of the trail from your map, and to simply hike in the direction that the trail must be...even if you're wrong, you can follow your compass back in the other direction or leave marks to find your way back to your initial point where you found you were lost. I know that you're supposed to stay put as soon as you realize you're lost, but after a few days it's time to try something different...sitting in one spot and starving to death would be hellish.

So, anyway, do people avoid using a map and compass because they think it's highly technical? I learned the constellations the same way...I bought a copy of Sky and Telescope, walked out back, looked up at the sky, and learned where they were. It takes about 10 seconds to learn how to find the North Star... This is not a skill requiring tons of instruction or amazing intelligence. I wonder if it isn't just intimidating or sounds more confusing than it is?

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Re: NYT Story

Postby Wildhorse » Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:45 pm

I tried to find the NPR story online. No luck.

Here is a really good report about what happened. Note that she went off trail to use the bathroom. Hum. NYT reader response implies that is too dangerous. So, as they say "be safe out there." Just do your business in the middle of the trail.

http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.h ... wilderness
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Re: NYT Story

Postby Ed » Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:13 am

zippetydude wrote:It takes about 10 seconds to learn how to find the North Star... This is not a skill requiring tons of instruction or amazing intelligence. I wonder if it isn't just intimidating or sounds more confusing than it is?


Sorry, Zip, I could not find the North Star if my life depended on it. I do find maps and compasses rather intuitive, perhaps because I am a quantitative person. I find the Sierras to be a bewildering maze of ridges and canyons once I am off-trail; I started climbing with the Sierra Club because my wife and I were getting lost and having route-finding disputes.
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