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#203135 - 06/09/10 12:57 PM Hiker recalls harrowing days lost in Baxter State
Nomad Offline

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 478
Loc: Just wandering around.
An experienced hiker was rescued after a 3 day search in the Maine woods (Baxter Park). The link below gives a brief description of the hikers mental state and his experience.

I have done S&R in these woods. He is very lucky his knee did not give out on him. Locating someone in this very rough country with its dense tree cover is next to impossible.


Nomad..Now at "home" in Maine for the summer.
...........From Nomad.........Been "on the road" since '97

#203141 - 06/09/10 04:19 PM Re: Hiker recalls harrowing days lost in Baxter S [Re: Nomad]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1916
Loc: Washington, DC
Thank you for posting this. An instructive account. The hiker seems plenty hard on himself. Fractured kneecap -- youch!

Kudos to the SAR folks who saved him.

An orange poncho enabled SAR to finally see him. I wonder exactly what orange poncho it is. I carry an AMK heat sheet or bag. The bugs might have driven me insane.

"Hays had a compass, a good flashlight, lots of clothes, food and water, a first aid kit and a pocket knife, but no flint stone, matches, bug repellent or detailed trail map. He thought that his cell phone would get a signal when the park has little coverage and he left his GPS system in his car, he said."

I'd like to know more about this check-in system, too.

"He also praised Baxter State Park’s visitor check-in system, saying it was the best he has ever seen."

#203142 - 06/09/10 04:43 PM Re: Hiker recalls harrowing days lost in Baxter S [Re: Dagny]
horizonseeker Offline

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 84
so he's "experienced" hiker? I think he's got a pretty high opinion of himself.
no whistle (would help when he could hear barking dogs),
no map or GPS and decided to go off trail,
no matches (that shivering at night sure was some experience),
no bug repellent (that is one mistake you never make again if you ever hike in a wet forest even once)

#203143 - 06/09/10 04:58 PM Re: Hiker recalls harrowing days lost in Baxter S [Re: horizonseeker]
rebwa Offline

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
Injury has always been one of my biggest concerns when day hiking. If you’re out of cell range or just in a spotty area, a person could be in for at the minimum a night out there, even if you’ve taken all other precautions like leaving detailed plans of where your headed and expected back.

I’ve always beefed up my small FAK’s that I carry day hiking with additional blood stopping padding and either an ace bandage, roll of vet wrap or both and a sam splint. In the summer and fall I include a bug head net and a few of the bug wipes. And I always carry the AMK heat sheet and/or heavier sportsman blanket that's red on one side and reflective on the other and usually carry both, as well as good rain wear, extra socks, gloves and hat at a minimum and usually a fleece sweater. I dislike both cold and wet!

Along with no fire kit, it doesn’t sound like he had any signaling capabilities in his pack either.

Glad they found him in time, while unfortunate for him being out there that long...a good lesson in always being prepared with basic survival supplies and never veering off marked trails.

#203144 - 06/09/10 05:32 PM Re: Hiker recalls harrowing days lost in Baxter S [Re: rebwa]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1916
Loc: Washington, DC
"Experienced" was the reporter's word, not the hiker's.

He was an experienced hiker, who made some mistakes for which he castigates himself.

“I was cursing myself for doing stupid things,” he said.

He wasn't fully prepared for overnighting, especially with a broken kneecap -- which he suffered after going off trail.

He's now an experienced lucky hiker who appreciates that it's better to be a fully prepared hiker who stays on the marked trails. There's also much to be said for not hiking solo (and certainly not going off-trail solo).

How many people on ETS actually hike in the mountains?

While matches and a whistle should be no-brainers because they are so light and useful, it is a tough call sometimes on how much stuff to carry on a day hike. Fortunately, he had a stream to stay hydrated. The most water I've ever carried on a day hike is one gallon.

#203145 - 06/09/10 06:16 PM Re: Hiker recalls harrowing days lost in Baxter S [Re: Dagny]
rebwa Offline

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
Good point Dagny, I'm pretty darn careful anymore where I go and how far out when alone. In my younger years I did some competitive trial riding and probably ventured out a little further than I should have solo on some of my conditioning rides. Never got into a problem but age and a little wisdom does give me more reason to stop and think before getting too far out on foot or even on horseback.

#203146 - 06/09/10 06:32 PM Re: Hiker recalls harrowing days lost in Baxter S [Re: horizonseeker]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
Dagny, thanks for summarizing exactly what I was going to say, only you phrase it much better smile

Thanks for posting the link, it is very rare to see such detailed interviews and summary of exactly what that person went through during their SAR ordeal.

I've joined this community because I love to do what that guy did, and I want to learn as much as possible about how I can prepare against being so severely in trouble as he did. Although my pack in fact would have carried those items mising from his pack I by no means consider myself experienced - there's always so much more to learn, skills to master, areas and conditions unfamiliar to me...

Reading stories like his: What he did, and how his predicament could be lessened or avoided through preparations or an improved decision making, is something I never grow tired of.

Edited by MostlyHarmless (06/09/10 06:42 PM)

#203153 - 06/09/10 08:04 PM Re: Hiker recalls harrowing days lost in Baxter S [Re: MostlyHarmless]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Great post, thanks. Plenty of lessons to be learned from this one.

#203156 - 06/09/10 08:56 PM Re: Hiker recalls harrowing days lost in Baxter S [Re: Dagny]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
How many people on ETS actually hike in the mountains?

Here is one of my favourite mountain walks with some areas shown which are quite good for remote camping such as Loch Esk (a good youtube video describing the route from one of my old postgraduate Professors)


What I don't really get about the story is actually the story itself. Twisted ankles and broken legs and folks getting caught out by the weather etc are pretty run of the mill and rarely get reported in the UK except for when large groups of walkers, hikers or mountaineers get killed. There was for example in the video above, where the group were having a tea break before descending into Glen Doll down Jocks road, where half a dozen walkers perished back in 1959 during a mid winter walk.

The media like to exaggerate the dangers of the wilderness for some reason. It makes good copy for the air chair pundits and viewers who can pontificate and smugly say 'what a stupid fellow for going into the wilderness in the first place, there are even bears out there ready to chew your head off, I saw it on the Discovery channel'.

Slipping and falling can happen virtually anywhere (how many folks were killed or seriously injured fixing the suburban household TV antenna for the digital switchover have never been reported). The news media aren't interested in this type of story because it lacks that certain macho 'Bear Grylls' appeal.

#203157 - 06/09/10 08:58 PM Re: Hiker recalls harrowing days lost in Baxter S [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
I agree with MostlyHarmless - its rare to see first hand accounts from survivors detailing what they did, didn't do - thumbs up that a. he survived and b. admitted the mistakes he made and c. he gives major props to SAR and the park system. Hey, if he didn't make any mistakes, likely no story. We need to minimize mistakes, but sometimes stuff happens - then we find out if your mistakes are really critical or if you are prepared and supplied enough to innovate and overcome.

One nit - always carry the essentials, including fire source and whistle. No excuses for not carrying on dayhikes. I carry at least two - one on a string around my neck, one in a pocket of my napsack. If I forget to put the string around my neck at the car or trailhead, I still have the spare. And I don't strip down my napsack to tailor it to the day's hike - same essentials, every hike. Sometimes more, but never less than the essentials.

And one plug - PLB. If you asked the hiker if he had one, would he have carried it on this dayhike? Possibly not before, but almost certainly he wouldn't forget one ever again. If he has a PLB when he shatters his kneecap, he could activate it, settle down, and concentrate on keeping warm - probably one long night outdoors. Help is on the way. $300 - is it worth two nights out overnight? 8 oz of peace of mind. If you don't have one, buy yours today.

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