23-year-old hiker Mary Owen had only planned to do a one day hike on Mount Hood in Oregon last week. At first her friends assumed she had just found some new things to explore, but when she had not returned by Monday, they started to worry. By Wednesday, her family was alerted and people had become frantic. Luckily, she was found this weekend, hungry and cold, but alive.
Her story of survival is truly miraculous.
The experienced hiker brought only enough supplies and warm clothing for that one day hike. But after injuring her ankle, she could no longer make it down, so she built herself an ice cave and wrapped herself in her waterproof poncho to wait for help. Even with the hunger and pain in her injured ankle, she was able to wait. What a miracle for her family and what a lesson for everyone else. There is a reason this story has a happy ending.
It's experience. Plain and simple. Experience makes all the difference between a happy ending and a tragedy.
It's not always true. Even an experienced hiker or skier can find themselves in perilous conditions beyond their control. But for the most part, an experienced hiker knows the right supplies to bring that could mean the difference between life and death. Knowing this, perhaps her parents were able to find some kind of peace while their daughter was missing.
They had to have some confidence in her skills and that as long as she were only mildly injured, she would seek shelter and try to stay warm.
The lesson here is to do what you are capable of doing. We all push ourselves and try to master new skills by pushing our limits. Sometimes that is smart. Other times, it can kill you. Hiking is no joke. Even a day hike can turn into a week and your gear can mean the difference between life and death. I am a hiker and love the outdoors, but I am not all that experiences. Would I have thought to bring a rain poncho on a sunny day? Probably not. And that might have meant I would not survive. Pretty scary, no?
This story has a happy ending. It would not have ended this way were she a less experienced outdoors woman. Take this as a warning. If you are not experienced, hike with someone who is or do your research.
Would you ever take a hike you don't know?
Image via denebola2025/Flickr