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HenryJLittlefinger
Jan 31, 2010

stomp clap



Blacknose posted:

As a European who has spent a ton of time in the American west my take is that we have absolutely no point of reference for the sheer scale and hostility of the place.

Youíre right and this is true for most Americans too. I live in the west and work in some really remote places in the Rockies, the Colorado Plateau, and did a stint in the Mojave, and it still throws me off every now and then just how isolated you can get yourself. Even in some of the less isolated places, you can be literal days from help on foot. poo poo, thereís places you can see civilization but still be a dayís walk away. You can get painfully (probably not dangerously) dehydrated just driving through the Mojave.

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Blacknose
Jul 28, 2006

Meet frustration face to face
A point of view creates more waves
So lose some sleep and say you tried


Yeah the desert in summer does not mess around at all. I've been a kilometer or so away from where the Germans' car was found on Warm Spings Road and hollly poo poo is it remote. It's remarkable the car got there at all, and the only way to explain the decisions they made is that they had no concept at all of their situation.

I wanted to hike out to the location but had turned my ankle very slightly a few days before hiking slot canyons and just that slight twinge was enough to make me nope out on getting out of sight of our vehicle. In the UK I'd gladly go out for a short hike on a similar mild injury and not even think about it. It's a completely different mindset.

hemale in pain
Jun 5, 2010






Salad Prong

To be honest I can't imagine what it was like before having tons and tons of mapping data avaliable to me on a tiny handheld device. I imagine we have plenty of people here whove been on long trips without it but the Internet and technology has insanely spoiled me when it comes to information and planning.

Google maps probably would of saved the German tourists.

xzzy
Mar 5, 2009



They did it with topographic maps and a compass which everyone should still be packing with them even with google maps on hand.

The crews that made those topographic maps were certifiable badasses though.

Blacknose
Jul 28, 2006

Meet frustration face to face
A point of view creates more waves
So lose some sleep and say you tried


I'm pretty sure I didn't have any phone signal at Willow Springs anyway

Like I said before, and if I remember right like the guys who found them concluded, their mistakes were probably based on bad information. In Europe a marked road on a map is probably passable in any vehicle. Roads very rarely get decommissioned and removed from maps. Distances are shorter etc. I don't know that a handheld GPS would have done much for them. An emergency satellite tracker may have, I guess.

Blacknose fucked around with this message at 11:53 on Nov 24, 2020

hemale in pain
Jun 5, 2010






Salad Prong

It's sorta impossible to say. Of course they might not of bothered planning it in advance but you can save routes for offline use so you don't need data to navigate. That wouldn't of stopped them from taking a 'shortcut' of course but maybe even just being able to Google where they were going in advance would of given them a better idea? Anyways, I just think technology is cool and I appreciate it

Blacknose
Jul 28, 2006

Meet frustration face to face
A point of view creates more waves
So lose some sleep and say you tried


Yeah definitely. Being outdoors is way easier without having to rely on paper maps and compass navigation all the time.

Dik Hz
Feb 22, 2004

Fun with Science



Blacknose posted:

I'm pretty sure I didn't have any phone signal at Warm Springs anyway

Like I said before, and if I remember right like the guys who found them concluded, their mistakes were probably based on bad information. In Europe a marked road on a map is probably passable in any vehicle. Roads very rarely get decommissioned and removed from maps. Distances are shorter etc. I don't know that a handheld GPS would have done much for them. An emergency satellite tracker may have, I guess.
One other thing that they got wrong: Once they realized they were hosed, they headed towards the border of the military base marked on their map, assuming there would be people at the border. Even if they made it that far, they still would have had dozens of miles to the first actual structure.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

xzzy posted:

The crews that made those topographic maps were certifiable badasses though.

Every topo map I've read - and the maps I've taken on trips are a subset of that - had a legend and tiny little text that told me about when the aerial photos were taken.
So, badasses for sitting in a small plane flying boring grids for days on end? If you're referring to the ground-truth crew - who, yes, are absolutely badasses if they're venturing off of the roads and cutlines - how many topo maps get that level of additional attention in wilderness areas?

xzzy
Mar 5, 2009



Well I was painting with a broad brush. I knew aerial imagery was most of it but I figured ground surveys were used a lot too.

Even if it was 100% aerial, someone had to go over them with a loupe to produce the maps so they still get a nod from me.

Rick
Feb 23, 2004
And now the whole nation - pulpit and all - will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open.

vonnegutt posted:

Plus I think it's really hard for lots of people to conceive how far apart things are out west. Like, "area the size of medium-sized European nation" before the next gas station large. Here's a (tragic) tale of a search-and-rescue operation for some Germans who didn't understand that "Death Valley" could be literal: https://www.otherhand.org/home-page/search-and-rescue/the-hunt-for-the-death-valley-germans/

This is a good read. I love this sort of poo poo. Wish I was healthy enough to look at desert mysteries.

I definitely feel for them. The part where it talks about honest mistakes they maybe made, a lot of those are mistakes that I've made! Never that remote (although it would be hard to be THAT remote but not even close) but I've made wrong turns in the desert and I've definitely taken a 2 wheel sedan places it had no business going and ended up in situations where I would've been hosed if it was further out. And the times that I've been in legitimate trouble weren't even my fault, and was bad luck off of highways at times they were not well traveled (luckily because of all the stupid things I have done I always travel with multiple day supply of water and a cold weather sleeping bag).

ROFLburger
Jan 12, 2006


ExecuDork posted:

Every topo map I've read - and the maps I've taken on trips are a subset of that - had a legend and tiny little text that told me about when the aerial photos were taken.
So, badasses for sitting in a small plane flying boring grids for days on end? If you're referring to the ground-truth crew - who, yes, are absolutely badasses if they're venturing off of the roads and cutlines - how many topo maps get that level of additional attention in wilderness areas?

stinkypete
Nov 27, 2007
wow



I have run into more idiots in Death Valley NP. That place needs no it requires respect. It is Huge like very very huge. There are places I have not been too since I don't have 2 full size spare tires yet for my jeep. The race track eats 10 ply tires all the time. The sandy parts down south will suck a vehicle in. The flash floods are dangerous as hell. It is very pretty but requires some respect.
I saved 2 people from LA by telling them to turn around in the jeep they rented from Las Vegas because it had street tires on it. The second couple blew out the front struts on a brand new jeep by trying to drive it at 45 miles an hour on a horrible washboarded road.
Some other guy was trying to tell a dude in a smart car to turn around on the Titus canyon road. That was weird. Titus canyon is a high clearance road.

If anyone is going to Death Valley National Park private msg me I am getting ready to go on my 11th multi day trip. I live nearby and this is my favorite park. I also have info on Northern Nevada and certain parts of Central Nevada and southwest Utah.

stratdax
Sep 14, 2006


Well, if it was dangerous, then surely the people in charge wouldn't allow me to go! What do you mean the road is unpaved? I want to speak to the manager about this!

Rick
Feb 23, 2004
And now the whole nation - pulpit and all - will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open.

I really hope to go to at least drive through Death Valley some day. I planned on it once but I just completely underestimated how much time I would spend at Yosemite, I figured I would just drive through it in a couple hours and be to DV by 5:00 which is still time for a nice drive in July. I ended up spending all day there and just drove home to Arizona instead. Maybe when I am allowed by work to leave the state againÖ

HenryJLittlefinger
Jan 31, 2010

stomp clap



Titus Canyon is a fun one, Iíve done it a couple times. Last time, I took some little 2wd rental Toyota suv through, itís doable if youíre careful.

A Festivus Miracle
Dec 19, 2012

I have come to discourse on the profound inequities of the American political system.



Not from me, but I had an old supervisor that used to be an old trail hand in Kings Canyon National Park. One day, they were rehabbing an old trail, and her boss decided to put the trail through a boulder they rapidly discovered was barely hanging on to the hill side. So the game plan was to blow it in half, and reseat the bits of it to make a more stable tread. Everyone backed up to where they were supposed, and both halves of the crew posted trail guards. So of course, as the master blaster up the valley is shouting "Fire in the hole!", two mountain bikers come tearing rear end down the trail. She stepped out onto the trail and shouted them to stop, but these two intrepid would-be suicides just blew right past her. As she's yelling into her radio to stop the detonation, one of her coworkers stepped out and just clotheslined both of these dudes.

The master blaster blew the charges, and then came up the trail (about a mile) in five minutes flat, and gave the mountain bikers a pretty righteous rear end-tearing before making them take their bikes back out to the parking lot, and calling ahead to a ranger to make sure they were escorted out of the park post-haste.

Blacknose
Jul 28, 2006

Meet frustration face to face
A point of view creates more waves
So lose some sleep and say you tried


Last I was in Death Valley we turned around some guys in a stock 2wd suv on street tyres at the top of Lippincott who were debating the descent. Fortunately they listened and went back via racecourse road.

Hotel Kpro
Feb 23, 2011

owls don't go to school

Dinosaur Gum

HenryJLittlefinger posted:

Yíall need to read Death in Grand Canyon. It is absolutely fascinating the variety of ways people are stupid there and die from it. I donít know what the most recent edition of it is, but itís been revised a couple times since first printing to add more death accounts.

I recently read through this, there's a never ending supply of idiots out there who will ignore trail signs, ignore rangers, and then do something stupid that they were warned about. Some of them were just sad, like the boy scouts or the marathon runner. They were misled and ended up in super lovely situations. I also read Death in Yellowstone and it's more of the same; people doing dumb poo poo or underestimating nature

Blacknose
Jul 28, 2006

Meet frustration face to face
A point of view creates more waves
So lose some sleep and say you tried


I just finished Death in Grand Canyon so may have to check out both of those. Its amazing the decisions people make.

Internetjack
Sep 15, 2007

oh god how did this get here i am not good with computers


Top Cop

A local conservation group hosts group hikes in the summer. One of their team picks a trail, and 8 folks can sign up to go. Fun, social, get-outdoors stuff.

This one hike to a mountain lake was long. 6 miles of overgrown logging roads which wasn't bad at all, but still a couple of hours, and then one last mile when you reach timberline where the trail turns to granite switchbacks in the hot summer sun.

One of the hikers has a phone app going for the last mile and decides to count down every 100' to the lake for the last mile. The guide that led the hike is occasionally pointing out cool stuff about flora and geology, and we are all getting a bit tired after a couple of hours and looking forward to a swim and lunch and picking huckleberries that are everywhere.

This guy though just starts in, literally phone in hand staring at it while he trudges along tripping over rocks and such, not even looking up to enjoy the incredible scenery.

"we're 4500' to the lake"
"we're 4400' to the lake"
"we're 4300' to the lake"
etc.
Completely unsolicited and actually told that we did not want play-by-play updates by a couple of folks after a bit. He responds to no one at all, just keeps calling out numbers and stumbling along staring at the phone. I'm thinking, "why did you even come hiking if you are just staring at your phone the whole time?"

By about 3500' to the lake I wanted to grab that drat phone and chuck it off the mountain.


To post some positive vibes too though,
I saw a young couple with baby hiking a popular local day trail that takes you up 2200+ feet over 3.5 miles. Mom had baby in a harness on front, and dad had a solid 20+ pound day pack on his back. We chatted for a minute as we passed and they were just having the best day ever. It was very enduring to see not-clueless younger folks just have a good old time with their little kid.

HenryJLittlefinger
Jan 31, 2010

stomp clap



Internetjack posted:

To post some positive vibes too though,
I saw a young couple with baby hiking a popular local day trail that takes you up 2200+ feet over 3.5 miles. Mom had baby in a harness on front, and dad had a solid 20+ pound day pack on his back. We chatted for a minute as we passed and they were just having the best day ever. It was very enduring to see not-clueless younger folks just have a good old time with their little kid.

We started hiking with our kid when she was about a month old and have tried to do it as much as possible for the past couple years. Now that she's 2 and pushing 30 lbs, it's not as easy to just toss her in the pack and go for a few hours any more. But she gets jazzed about hiking so we're in that stage where all of our hikes are about 1 mile so she can walk most of it on her own carrying a stuffed toy. I'm gonna miss doing longer hikes for the next few years till she can do at least 3-4 miles under her own power, but till then we'll flip rocks at the river and such. Just making it normal for her to be outside as much as possible makes parenting easy some days cause we can just go to the park and she pokes sticks in the mud and flops in the creek for hours.

Pinus Porcus
May 14, 2019

Ranger McFriendly


HenryJLittlefinger posted:

We started hiking with our kid when she was about a month old and have tried to do it as much as possible for the past couple years. Now that she's 2 and pushing 30 lbs, it's not as easy to just toss her in the pack and go for a few hours any more. But she gets jazzed about hiking so we're in that stage where all of our hikes are about 1 mile so she can walk most of it on her own carrying a stuffed toy. I'm gonna miss doing longer hikes for the next few years till she can do at least 3-4 miles under her own power, but till then we'll flip rocks at the river and such. Just making it normal for her to be outside as much as possible makes parenting easy some days cause we can just go to the park and she pokes sticks in the mud and flops in the creek for hours.

We do about 2-3 miles with our almost 3 year old. He walks for the first half, then I sling him in the baby back pack when he can't take it anymore. Easier than lugging him the whole way but let's us get a bit more distance in.

And outdoor time is the best...I hated fishing until I had a kid, but casting is apparently the best thing ever to my kid, so fishing it is!

Idiot people tax:. I have a lot, but one of my favorite are people who want to walk to the beach from my work with no trail, through 2.5 miles of sand dunes that are all open to ATV use. When we discourage it, they respond " but I have GPS.". They all also comment how tiring it was to climb the ONE sand dune by the lake...yep, navigation is the least of my concerns.

carrionman
Oct 30, 2010


It's the middle of summer here, and the main holiday of the year for most of the country, which means more idiots than usual out and about.

One of the more popular walks near me is about a 12km round trip and starts off with a 700m climb over about 2km. The amount of people I saw as I was coming down who both:
-Had waited until about 3pm to start their walk
-didn't have any water with them despite it being about 27 degrees
Absolutely boggled my mind. It took me about 4 hrs all up and even 2 litres of water felt a bit skimpy by the end
Admittedly I'm a big bastard so hill climbs make me work pretty hard but drat people

AmbassadorofSodomy
Dec 30, 2016

SUCK A MALE CAMEL'S DICK WITH MIRACLE WHIP!!


carrionman posted:

It's the middle of summer here, and the main holiday of the year for most of the country, which means more idiots than usual out and about.

One of the more popular walks near me is about a 12km round trip and starts off with a 700m climb over about 2km. The amount of people I saw as I was coming down who both:
-Had waited until about 3pm to start their walk
-didn't have any water with them despite it being about 27 degrees
Absolutely boggled my mind. It took me about 4 hrs all up and even 2 litres of water felt a bit skimpy by the end
Admittedly I'm a big bastard so hill climbs make me work pretty hard but drat people
Lots of food for you if you were a vulture.

Zero One
Dec 30, 2004

Z is the new C

https://outforia.com/danger-parks/

1. Grand Canyon Ė 134 deaths

The dangers facing visitors to the Grand Canyon are pretty clear to see, with drops of 100 feet into the base of the canyon itself, although falls arenít actually the biggest cause of death in the national park. 27 people have died from falls in the Grand Canyon since 2010, while as many as 42 have died from medical or natural causes, many of which were due to the extreme heat in the area.

2. Yosemite Ė 126 deaths

In second place was Yosemite National Park, where 126 people have lost their lives in the last decade, with 45 coming from falls. Beauty spots such as Taft Point, Nevada Fall and Half Dome have all seen deaths over the last few years, often when people were trying to capture the perfect photo without being fully aware of the dangers of their surroundings.

3. Great Smoky Mountains Ė 92 deaths

The Great Smoky Mountains straddle North Carolina and Tennessee and are the most visited national park in the country, although itís also where the third-highest number of deaths occur. The most common cause of death here wasnít from falls, drowning or wild animal attacks, but actually, motor vehicle crashes, with 37 in the last ten years.

Math You
Oct 27, 2010

So put your faith
in more than steel


I do a lot of canoeing and I make a point of putting a portage between myself and any access road where possible. Where I can't, I try to access water ways with primarily local traffic, which helps weed out the yahoos who view burning gas and damaging the shoreline as recreational activities.
In certain areas you'll have half of the boaters blowing by you without a second thought. Then you get the types who feel a bit of shame and decelerate just enough to break their plane and double the size of their wake. Wow, so courteous!

Even in really remote areas I don't like to camp on the first lake in. Couple of years ago, in Temagami, we found a camp site with an abandoned 10lb bag of potatoes and 6 chicken breasts in the fire pit. That's how you fuckin' get problem bears, people!
I think the ease with which they can access islands for camping causes people with motor boats to do it without a single solitary clue about how to do it properly.

Here's a good one from 2019. Met a duo at an Algonquin park access point and chatted with them while waiting for my friends to get there. Noticed they had a really heavy looking canoe cart and a lot of extra gear.
I'm pretty familiar with this area of the park, and it's one of the more remote access points with rough, often steep hiking trails for portages.
I asked them what their plans are and they tell me their route. They are doing a route with some overlap of ours, which, for reference, includes a portage nicknamed "heart attack hill". In fact, they borrowed this cart specifically because of the portages on the route. I tried to warn them a lot of portages would be difficult if not impossible to get a cart through and that they should consider leaving whatever they could in their car, but they seemed determined to make it work.
They set off across the lake, and I waited for my friends to show up.

It ended up being a bit of a wait because the bastards got lunch on the way when I thought we were having a shore lunch before setting out. I curse them and we set out close to two hours after I had waved off the previous party. We come up to our first portage and see it's signed for 900+ meters, with a 20 percent or so slope covered in rocks and roots leading up to the trees.
Then I see a bundle of gear to the side of the trail, and the canoe cart which had been tossed into the woods. Those poor bastards had been on the first portage for close to two hours and there were 4 more before the next lake with decent campsites.
We passed them mid trail and let them know what lay ahead. They looked like they were going to cry, and after seeing the campsites of last resort along the creek, I really hope they gave up and turned around!

Fake edit: glad others called out Mr. Carry your own poo poo. My wife looks perfectly healthy but has a chronic condition that is destroying her joints. Even when things are good, she's suffering from muscle atrophy from when things have been bad. Yes, I carry everything and we count ourselves lucky that she can still hike at all.
Keep an open mind and try not to be the idiot people meet outdoors.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Zero One posted:

The most common cause of death here wasnít from falls, drowning or wild animal attacks, but actually, motor vehicle crashes, with 37 in the last ten years.
I'm a scientist, I do field work out in the great outdoors, like literally in fields. We have to do formal risk assessments for each outing and for the season as a whole (typically the summer, with lots of trips to the same area). There's a grid to estimate the hazards; pick something nasty and proceed. First, the magnitude of horribleness should the hazard actually occur. Lightning is usally on the list, and tops out the scale at "very likely to cause severe injury or death" - score it a 6. Next, estimate the probability of occurrence. Lightning is pretty unlikely, not impossible but only a few people get struck by lightning at all each year on a given continent. So it scores 1 for "very unlikely". 6 x 1 = 6, and falls into the "modest hazard" category. Then we have to describe how we'll mitigate the risk, and for lightning it's pretty obvious - see lightning or hear thunder, go to the truck. Your day's work is probably over. Watch out for storm clouds. You know, the usual stuff about lightning.

Most of the field safety plan comes down to "go to the truck". Wild animals, slips/trips/falls (after they happen, or to get the tools to solve the issue), heatstroke, frostbite, bad weather - go to the truck. But the riskiest thing, every time, is the truck itself. Driving on public roads presents the highest hazard, by far. Most things come out at 10 or less because they're unlikely to kill you, very unlikely to happen, or very easy to mitigate (bad weather - stay home, hazard avoided well done. There's always boring data-management stuff to do on the laptop in the kitchen). But The Road is always somewhere in the 20's or 30's on the risk scale, which gets into the yellow-orange part of the chart and you have to write a few paragraphs about managing those risks.

Basically, nothing else is actually dangerous, have your little panic attack about bears or drowning or whatever, you're gonna die on the access road between the highway and the access gate with a stupid expression on your face and a car-company logo crushed into your skull.

Math You posted:

I do a lot of canoeing
Temagami
I used to live in Sudbury, only for a short time. My wife and I love to go on canoe trips and everything you've said about portages is spot-on. I can highly recommend Halfway Lake provincial park, we closed it a few years ago by being the last people in the park when the shut down for the winter - the rangers were all waiting for us to arrive and helped us get unpacked and re-packed into the truck because that's all they needed to do before heading home themselves. We had the entire (smallish) park to ourselves for a 3-day weekend in late September, and encountered none of those issues you describe.

Not meeting anybody is one way to avoid meeting any idiots outdoors. Of course, you can always become the idiot....

The Rat
Aug 29, 2004

You will find no one to help you here. Beth DuClare has been dissected and placed in cryonic storage.



Math You posted:


Fake edit: glad others called out Mr. Carry your own poo poo. My wife looks perfectly healthy but has a chronic condition that is destroying her joints. Even when things are good, she's suffering from muscle atrophy from when things have been bad. Yes, I carry everything and we count ourselves lucky that she can still hike at all.
Keep an open mind and try not to be the idiot people meet outdoors.

Yep, you're right. I apologize to those I pissed off with my earlier post. Took some time to think about my previous source of bias and make the necessary mental corrections.

knuthgrush
Jun 25, 2008

Be brave; clench fists.



I've had quite a few encounters but most of them seem to be centered around one particular trail. It's a very rugged area and there's a massive sign at the entrance that reads something like "there's umpteen acres of national forest with all sorts of marked and unmarked trails here. bring a map or *you will get lost*". In order to enter that part of the woods, you have to get a back country permit from the ranger and for whatever reason (government efficiency?) they have a small checklist of necessaries that you are required to have before you can go. It's brief and basically consists of water, light, and someone knows where you are and when you'll be back. If you're not back by 3-4 hours past that time, they'll activate SAR across two counties. Needless to say, some idiots get crazy bills for being found.

I don't fully understand why they let obviously unprepared people out there. My favorite group to date was 4 of the most broly bros who ever bro'ed in flip flops and tank tops mid-summer with a long cooler and four lawn chairs. They were issued permits a couple of hours before us and when we caught up to them, they were very lost. We only found them because they left a string of discarded items behind them that lead way off trail and we decided to follow it just in case. Phones don't work out there so we ended up using ham radio to get someone in touch with the ranger's station. I often wonder what happened to those dudes and how they got lost in the first place.

Once in a while you're the idiot, though. Another time at this spot a friend and I decided to do a three day trip. It was only a 15 mile hike end to end so not a huge deal, especially spread over that time. There was the possibility of severe weather but we decided we'd be fine and the ranger was cool with it, too. On day two, the heavens opened up and the whole area flooded. We hiked when we could and took shelter when we could but it was a miserable experience. On the way back we found a bunch of camp debris scattered everywhere and two other hikers huddling under a big rock overhang. We shared food and water with them and ended up all hiking out together by map+compass because the trails were completely invisible. I have no idea why the ranger issued any of us permits that day or why we even decided to go but it happened.

A final favorite story is at another section of woods that's pretty accessible to your average person. If you really like a punishing hike, you can push yourself but you're never more than a 30min drive away from what counts as civilization and probably no more than 5 miles from the nearest paved road. Despite that, there's still wildlife out here. Trail runners like to go out here with some frequency and they never even carry water or anything with them. Just an iPhone, fitness belly band, and some booty shorts.

One day at this spot I came across a group of hogs and calmly waited for them to go away while internally screaming. Once they disbursed, I kept on hiking and encountered some trail runners. I tried to warn them about the hogs and that they were heading in the same direction but they brushed me off. Sure enough about 10min later, I hear all sorts of ruckus and yelling coming from just down the trail. I never did find out what happened to them but I hope that the motivation provided by the hogs gave them the best training they've ever had.

The Royal Nonesuch
Nov 1, 2005



Several years ago I did a trip in February with a friend in my old 1988 Cherokee from LA out to the Mojave for one night, then up through Panamint Valley, Goler Wash to the Barker Ranch (where they arrested charles manson), over Mengel Pass down through Striped Butte and Warm Springs (around where the DV German's van was found) out through the Harry Wade road to Baker. Three nights in total. On the second night, we were camped out south of Mengel Pass right around here. We had gotten rained on in the Mojave the previous night, and the clouds were moving back in with vigor. It was dark, blustery and nasty - we'd hoped to find a more secluded spot but it was dark as poo poo and rain was close. We had a nice fire and were cooking some dinner when this gigantic light lit up the sky to our north, which meant someone was coming up Mengel Pass in the dark. Weird but ok, everything is weird out there. Twenty minutes or so pass while we watch this blinding LED lightbar working it's way down towards us and finally this huge Rubicon comes cruising down the road. I was kind of hoping they'd go right by because I don't really like talking to strangers at night in a storm in the middle of nowhere a few hundred yards from where Charlie used to drop acid, but sure enough they hit the brakes right next to our camp and stop. Driver window rolls down and a voice calls out:

"Hey! Cool old Jeep! Hey, do you guys know where the nearest gas station is?"

I cautiously walked over to talk to them and got their full story. Apparently they had left Vegas earlier that day and headed out to find "that place where that hippy murder guy used to live". They had about a third of a tank left and were starting to become concerned hahah. They were actually pretty cool dudes, although I got the feeling they were tweaking on something. I brought my iPad over with GaiaGPS and showed them where to find the Barker Ranch, and how to get out to the nearest gas station in loving Trona.

The next morning they came by again (wasting more gas) to thank us and let us know they'd spent the night sleeping in the car parked in front of the Barker Ranch, and were now heading out to Trona. They offered me a cliff bar in thanks, which I declined, and then they were off back down towards Goler wash / Ballarat. We proceeded on to do Mengle Pass in a sleet storm which was it's own form of idiocy, but we made it out fine. I often fondly remember those guys.

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The Walrus
Jul 9, 2002




the group of tourists literally and repeatedly (as in on more than one occasion on their hike) screaming for help because they were repeatedly lost on the (very clearly marked and well travelled) devils garden path in arches NP was pretty funny.

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