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#282781 - 11/21/16 06:34 AM Day hike becomes 5 day desert trek
rafowell Offline

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 202
Loc: Southern California
A local (Southern California) story with a happy ending, at least.

A couple took a day hike for photos in the desert, got lost, and hiked for 5 days with no food and little water, eventually finding other humans to recontact civilization.

Lots of search activity in the meantime w/o success. The couple saw helicopters, but could not attract their attention.

Some of the information posted in the media and other sources:

Edited by rafowell (11/21/16 06:36 AM)
Edit Reason: title was cut off
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

#282782 - 11/21/16 06:46 PM Re: Day hike becomes 5 day desert trek [Re: rafowell]
Bingley Offline

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1277
Why is it that the story title has to lead with "drank their own urine"??? I can imagine the side effect of this sort of sensationalist reporting: anytime somebody gets lost -- "Alright, I guess we need to reuse those Gatorade bottles now..."

#282783 - 11/21/16 06:58 PM Re: Day hike becomes 5 day desert trek [Re: Bingley]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5918
Loc: southern Cal
It would doubtless be more accurate to headline "They survived in spite of drinking their own urine." While I would rather drink my own than yours (or anyone else's, for that matter) drinking urine is a losing game - processing the included salts will spell bad news for your kidneys. Better to pee into a solar still arrangement if you are desperate.
Geezer in Chief

#282784 - 11/21/16 09:26 PM Re: Day hike becomes 5 day desert trek [Re: rafowell]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2174
My theory of S&R is that day hikers - and spur of the moment hikers-- are in a more serious situation than when a backpacker gets lost...


- leave your itinerary with a trusted source
- carry extra water, compass, jackets, etc. ( google " the ten essentials" for a variety of lists of gear.)
- most smart phones have some sort of gps function. All GPS have this function
- A 'signal mirror' is cheap; I pay between $2.50 and $10 per unit. And you can learn to use one in 5 minutes.

Edited by TeacherRO (11/21/16 09:35 PM)

#282792 - 11/22/16 04:12 AM Re: Day hike becomes 5 day desert trek [Re: TeacherRO]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5918
Loc: southern Cal
You have a point in that a backpacker will generally have more gear than a day hiker but I feel that the most important element is the knowledge and capabilities of the persons involved. While gear and equipment is important, knowledge is even more significant in keeping out of trouble.

I am reminded of one rescue operation where a group of backpackers was going out in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson. It started to snow, which upset them greatly, since they started to travel faster, even discarding some of their gear. Eventually one of the group was injured, they were immobilized, and it was time for our group to take the field.
Geezer in Chief

#282811 - 11/26/16 11:10 AM Re: Day hike becomes 5 day desert trek [Re: rafowell]
David2Michel Offline

Registered: 10/18/16
Posts: 2
Loc: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Never give up, there always have a second chance to make your dreams true.
Black Riders

#283342 - 01/14/17 06:35 PM Re: Day hike becomes 5 day desert trek [Re: rafowell]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2174
Also, its the desert. use all 3 liters of space in your hydration bladder.

#283348 - 01/15/17 08:02 AM Re: Day hike becomes 5 day desert trek [Re: TeacherRO]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 1913
Loc: Colorado
Having to survive, lost in the desert, sounds like pure horror to me. Right up there with being lost at sea or stranded on the Artic ice. I would probably take the desert over these other two, but not by much.

I would take extra, extra precautions and preparation before venturing out into the desert these days. I've only hiked there once or twice in my life, many decades ago, before I knew enough to give it proper respect.

As I hike in the mountain area where I live (day hikes only these days, I don't backpack any more), I am constantly looking around thinking, "What would I do if something happened to me right here?" Other than being stuck on the spot due to injury, I can almost always come up with some plan to find shelter and usually water within a few hundred yards. As long as I'm below timberline. It gets hostile really fast once you don't have trees around anymore. But the forested areas give me a feeling of security. I would miss that greatly hiking in the desert. I try to do this type of mental planning when driving through desert areas. I pretend I'm actually hiking there instead of driving. The end result: I usually conclude that I'd probably die.

#283350 - 01/15/17 01:33 PM Re: Day hike becomes 5 day desert trek [Re: haertig]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3556
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I agree about surviving in the desert. It's probably the scenario that intimidates me the most and the one that I'll put off of long as possible. (We're supposed to take a family trip to the Grand Canyon in 5 years. GULP! LOL!) Extra extra precautions would definitely be the order of the day. File a plan with a trusted friend, and then stick to it, and bring LOTS of water would probably be my top two priorities, followed closely by setting myself up to navigate at my destination.

Two things stood out for me about this story:

1. They told their friend they were either going to destination A or B, but then ended up going to destination C. Being found/finding rescue sounds completely accidental in this case. Spur of the moment trips make me a bit nervous, especially if we're out of town already. I said in an earlier thread that "I may have filed a trip plan" when we talked about the family that got lost on a vacation to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. What do YOU do when you are on vacation and want to make a stop like that? Who do you tell/how do you file your plan? Do tell the hotel when the expect you back?

2. They tried to conserve their water by drinking urine. Pee drinking aside, I've heard conflicting advice about conserving your water in a situation like that: Is water best conserved inside us or rationed?
Mom & Adventurer

You can find me on YouTube here:

#283353 - 01/15/17 02:25 PM Re: Day hike becomes 5 day desert trek [Re: rafowell]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5918
Loc: southern Cal
You will find yourself in familiar territory at the Grand Canyon, especially the north Rim. Bear in mind that GC is a US National Park wherein joy and happiness reign supreme. Dying within the boundaries of a National Park is a capital offense (strictly enforced). Pain and suffering are against policy..

The popular notion of Arizona is that of a parched wasteland, but that is only partially true of the lowest portion of the state. The rims of the Grand Canyon are quite high, and therefore reasonably cool. Flagstaff, elevation 7,000 feet+, will feel right at home.

The natives are friendly, or, at least, have been, up until now...
Geezer in Chief

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