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The Death Valley story made me recall my own “adventure” about 20 years ago in Colorado.  I hiked in a county park near Fort Collins out to a scenic overlook in late July.  I violated all the rules – left no note in my car, no one knew I was there, only carried a minimal amount of water, had no way to make fire, no flashlight, no food and was wearing a t-shirt/shorts/hiking boots.  As I made my way back from the overlook, I suddenly realized that I was off the trail – the rain had made the pine needles into what sort of looked like a trail, but it was not.  Steep hillside, covered in pine trees & not a person in sight/sound.  I initially thought that I was above the original trail & hiked downslope, but no luck.  I then thought that I would hike to the top of the ridge & get an overview of where I was and/or run across the trail.   As I made my way upslope the ground was sandy, with plenty of rocks that gave way.   After about 10 minutes this I realized that I was going to turn an ankle or break something.   At this point, I stopped, sat down, & drank most of my remaining water.  I gathered my thoughts and looked in all directions.  Off in the distance I could see the distinctive white rock that marked the scenic overlook that I had hiked to earlier in the day.  With a firm landmark in sight, I hiked in that direction, confident that I would stumble upon the trail sooner or later.  A short time later ( seemed longer of course) I hit the trail & made my way back towards the parking lot.  I stopped and related my story to a kind young couple coming the other way.  They graciously offered me some of their water, which gave me the energy I needed to finish my hike back. That experience has stuck with me for all these years since then.  My wife and I hike a fair bit on our own and even when we  travel with a commercial group I still make sure that I have water ( and a way to filter it), some food, light, fire making “tools”, and clothing to handle weather changes.


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The Death Valley story made me recall my own “adventure” about 20 years ago in Colorado.  I hiked in a county park near Fort Collins out to a scenic overlook in late July.  I violated all the rules – left no note in my car, no one knew I was there, only carried a minimal amount of water, had no way to make fire, no flashlight, no food and was wearing a t-shirt/shorts/hiking boots.  As I made my way back from the overlook, I suddenly realized that I was off the trail – the rain had made the pine needles into what sort of looked like a trail, but it was not.  Steep hillside, covered in pine trees & not a person in sight/sound.  I initially thought that I was above the original trail & hiked downslope, but no luck.  I then thought that I would hike to the top of the ridge & get an overview of where I was and/or run across the trail.   As I made my way upslope the ground was sandy, with plenty of rocks that gave way.   After about 10 minutes this I realized that I was going to turn an ankle or break something.   At this point, I stopped, sat down, & drank most of my remaining water.  I gathered my thoughts and looked in all directions.  Off in the distance I could see the distinctive white rock that marked the scenic overlook that I had hiked to earlier in the day.  With a firm landmark in sight, I hiked in that direction, confident that I would stumble upon the trail sooner or later.  A short time later ( seemed longer of course) I hit the trail & made my way back towards the parking lot.  I stopped and related my story to a kind young couple coming the other way.  They graciously offered me some of their water, which gave me the energy I needed to finish my hike back. That experience has stuck with me for all these years since then.  My wife and I hike a fair bit on our own and even when we  travel with a commercial group I still make sure that I have water ( and a way to filter it), some food, light, fire making “tools”, and clothing to handle weather changes.


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