Everyone has a favorite places. Michelle and I have our favorite restaurant (Brad’s Swingside Café) our favorite wineries (Dusted Valley, Ross Andrew, to name two), our favorite date night spots, and even our favorite Hotel Chain (Holiday Inn Express!). We try new places all the time, but always migrate back to old reliables.
If I was asked about my favorite place of all time though, anywhere in the world, I would answer quickly without hesitation. Aside from snugged up next to Michelle in bed, the place I’d want to be on any given day, is Mt. Rainier National Park.
One of the things my wife teases me about is that I listen to “old man radio” when I drive. Yep, the local AM news station. I like to know about traffic, weather, and whatever else is going on in the world. My other go to (if it’s not 80s music) is NPR, again to keep up with what is going on.
So Monday night, on my way home from dinner with the kid. I hear that a lady camping at Canyon Creek campground, in the Gifford-Pinchot National forest (down near Mt St Helens, home of bigfoot AND just so happens to be the exact camp ground my family went to a lot when I was a kid) had gone missing. The said she had a butt-pack that may have had some food and matches, and they were concerned.
Well my first thought was with matches, if she had any brains, she could build a fire to stay warm. Plus the there is plenty of drinkable water up there this time of year, all fresh glacier fed. She could be ok for while.
Well Tuesday morning, while I was sitting and reading in the lunchroom before work, someone had turned on the TV news. They had an update to the story. Turns out this is a 19-year-old girl, who left camp, at midnight, with the knife, a compass and the fanny back was going on a spiritual quest. (I like to think of it as vision quest.) Oh, and here’s the kicker, that buttpack? That was ALL she was wearing. The chick is stark naked….
OK my first thought was, there better be a whole lot of booze involved. You know, “Well this one time I had been drinking while camping and I thought it would be a good idea…”
Then I started wondering how many local teens and dirty old men would be volunteering to go looking for her.
Then I started getting irritated. Now let me say right up front, I hope this twit turns up perfectly ok, except maybe for bug bites or nettle stings where they should never be. I wish her no harm. But people like this annoy me to no end. It never fails, people go into the forests and mountains around here and think they are in a neighborhood park.
Last year a man was killed when he got too close to mountain goat and the goat got mad. His family wanted to sue the park service, luckily it got thrown out of court. Recently, there was a hiker killed on Big 4 Mountain near Mt Baker. She flat ignored the signs that have been there since I was 7 that tell people to stay off the glacier and out of the snow tunnels. They are unstable. They were complaining that there were no fences to keep them out. So it was the parks fault. Its nature people deal with it!
Now I fully admit, I have done stupid things. I always hiked alone (just like biking I preferred it that way). There were also times, I was where I should NOT have been
But I found the fastest way down, took my picture AND got right back up. And had anything happened, there would have been no one suing Mt Rainier, they would’ve just said I was a damn fool!
John Krakauer wrote a book that romanticized stupid twits like this girl called “Into the Wild“. All about a guy who went into the Alaska wilderness completely unprepared, and died. Now people go to visit the bus he lived in… WHY? I don’t get it.
Why is this bugging me? Because at least once every year, there is one big rescue of someone climbing a mountain, and people get up in arms about how dangerous it is to do this. Why should they climb and put themselves in danger only to have to be rescued. Well most climbers are well prepared, take precautions and only call when something, like an injury, occurs. To me it’s no different from calling an ambulance in the event of a car crash. Climbers pay for a permit to climb, which goes toward the costs of rescues.
But every year, people scream that the climbers should repay the cost of the rescue. That its their own fault, or even they should ban climbing. Even thought rangers will tell you they spend MUCH more time, energy and money on people getting lost or hurt on lower elevations.
So yes, I hope she is ok, I hope the local teenage boys are ready to do their civic duty and save her, especially if she has hypothermia (best cure is body to body contact you know).
But I really hope this lady doesn’t have her own kids someday. Intelligence is hereditary, and you can’t fix stupid!