Sunday, November 07, 2010

If You Are Going to Get Lost in the Forest, Here's the Way to Do It

This past Friday evening my wife, Linda, my step-son, and son-in-law drove from Greenville, S.C. to northwestern North Carolina to visit some sights in Dupont State Park. The boys wanted to get some pictures of Bridal Veil Falls and Hooker Falls where some scenes from the movie "The Last of the Mohicans" were shot. The falls were just a short way up the trail and, while Linda waited at the van, the guys hustled up the trail to take their pics and come back. They didn't come back. Darkness overcame the wilderness.

Linda called in the missing/lost persons report with great difficulty. The intense nature of the event was compounded by very poor cell reception and weakening batteries.

After a seemingly eternal couple of hours, it was discovered that nearby this was taking place at the same time. Search and rescue teams with dogs and ATV's were already encamped just down the road for a weekend of training. Soon that portion of the 11,000 acre park were swarming with searchers, dogs, and sounding like the Indy 500 of ATV's. A chopper or two were also up, but the Goodyear blimp was nowhere to be seen.

Matt and Joe were quickly found. They had done several things right in this situation, most importantly building a safe signal fire, that aided in their rescue. The rescuers that actually found them expressed gratitude in participating in the real deal rather than just training. They do love to roar around on their ATV's.

It was quite a relief also up here in Wisconsin as we sat helplessly waiting on news.

The reasons for getting lost on these relatively simple trails remains somewhat unclear, however. This was, after all, just a three hour tour undertaken by the Skipper and Gilligan. My first thought was that after they found the famous Hooker falls, they went looking for the hookers and got lost. But a more likely scenario is that by some magical formula these two guys together exponentially increase the trouble that they could get into separately. Just a couple of years ago they got into a fiery rollover winter-time crash in the boondocks of northcentral Wisconsin and because of extenuating circumstances they felt the need to flee the search and rescue teams.

Their car:

The guys after cleanup:

Of course, we are ecstatic that they are safe. But we expect these two to go into the history books next to the famous American explorers Lewis and Clark, except their team will be called Doofus and Dork.

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