Two Bagels & A Little Water, OR a Tale of Epic Stupidity in the Daks.

12:09 a.m. on January 31, 2013 (EST)
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Two Bagels & a little water... from now on this is the first thing that will come to mind every time I see an unprepared dumbass in the woods.

Just another in a collection of tales of misadventure in the High Peaks region of the Adirondaks this winter.

I usually try not to be harsh and judgmental but this one is different. Before you start reading, if you are eating, you may want to finish chewing and swallow, else you may spit food all over your monitor within the first few sentences.

I get the sense the author struggled a bit to be polite here.


9:09 a.m. on January 31, 2013 (EST)
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I vote for your second choice. My main question; why do so many lost hikers leave the trail? They make themselves much harder to find, if these guys had stayed on trail they would have been found sooner, and not had the expense of the helicopter added to someones bottom line.

9:44 a.m. on January 31, 2013 (EST)
andrew f. @leadbelly2550
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Darwin award honorable mention.  i don't see one thing these guys did right.  they must be pretty fit, though.  with that kind of lousy preparation, it doesn't say they had any frostbite, and they were still moving.  add 24 hours, these guys would have been ice pops.  

5:37 p.m. on February 1, 2013 (EST)
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Ice pops indeed, they were well on their way. Low core body temperatures and severely cold hands & feet, that being at the warmest time of the day, they definitely wouldn't have lived through that night. Had the one wife not made them bring the bagels, they may have already frozen with no fuel for the furnace.

Dam lucky they didn't try such a thing just a couple days before, the temps were more in the -20˚ range, without the windchill.

It's too bad the article didn't say, I have to wonder what kind of footwear they had, post holing there way in the middle of nowhere. Probably trail runners.

I would have loved to see the SAR members face when they found one of them in sweat pants.


Someone in touch with the SAR on another forum said they had gone off trail, trying to get up Mt. Seymor in an attempt to get a cell signal to call for help. Unsurprisingly, they weren't successful, so it was a good thing the wife called the rangers.

A local member of the SAR was talking about how traditional wisdom used to dictate to search downhill on any drainage from the trail as they would normally go down trying to get out but these days people tend to go up, trying to get a cell phone signal.

8:23 p.m. on February 1, 2013 (EST)
Rob R
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Boy.......that's all I can say.......boy.

11:56 p.m. on February 1, 2013 (EST)
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Are you sure those first few paragraphs aren't from The Onion?

10:42 a.m. on February 2, 2013 (EST)
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bheiser1 said:

Are you sure those first few paragraphs aren't from The Onion?

 Which two paragraphs? What's "The Onion"?

EDIT: Ah, never mind.

1:51 p.m. on February 2, 2013 (EST)
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We have gotten a bit too used to dominating our environment.  We go from a heated car to a heated office and back without really needing a jacket or good shoes.  People just start to assume that they have mastered nature and think they can handle a long hike because they can do a long run.  I run long trail races over rugged terrain where the race director goes to great lengths to explain how bad the course is but every year a runner in a matching outfit shows up and complains that there are rocks and roots on the trail.  Some people just can't conceive that the world is more dangerous or wild than suburbia.   

3:11 p.m. on February 13, 2013 (EST)
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it figures, one of them was from New York...

6:24 p.m. on February 13, 2013 (EST)
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some people just gotta learn the hard way

7:43 a.m. on February 18, 2013 (EST)
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Actually they did the most important thing right, even though they probably weren't aware of the significant role it would play in their survival - the Zero Essential.

Unlike the ten essentials, the Zero Essential is something you leave at home with a trusted relative or friend.  Something that might save your life (or maybe just an arm) if you can't return as expected.  

It is the information about your expected trip and return time left with someone who has no qualms about calling the appropriate authorities if you don't return or make contact as expected.

The men's trip started early Sunday, at 1 a.m. in Long Lake. By 10:20 p.m. that night, a wife of one of the men called the state Department of Environmental Conservation's dispatch center in Ray Brook, saying the two men were overdue.

I'm a licensed guide in New York State. My legs aren't what they used to be so I spend more time leading day hikes or one night backpacking trips rather than the more extensive trips of my past. 

But that puts me in contact with lots of inexperienced (and some naive experienced) hikers. People who show up at the trailhead for a snowshoe hike in jeans and sneakers. People who took a ten essentials shopping list to the store but have their signaling whistle packed in the bottom of their pack because "it is the last think I expect to need...."

My trip planning instructions start with two rules. The first is the requirement that everyone practice the zero essential. The second is that everyone must be prepared to survive an unexpected night in the woods.

Broken legs, debilitating illnesses, and hypothermia don't know and don't care whether you are 1 mile or 10 miles from the trailhead. You don't have to be comfortable, you just have to survive.

I see trip planning failure every time I read a report stating "SAR preparations for the missing hikers began Monday night after co-workers became concerned that the pair had not showed up for work all day Monday...." SAR preparations should have begun Sunday night.

So while there is much about which to criticize these two misguided adventurers, there is also something to celebrate - they are alive because of the Zero Essential.

Don't leave home without leaving it at home.

May 27, 2020
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