|Looking for Madeline|
If you go missing in my area, we will search for you. We will risk our own lives scrambling on rough terrain in grizzly bear country and flying low and slow in helicopters. We will do this whether or not you were really lost, if you did something dumb like jumping in a fast river or venturing out past a warning sign, and we will even search if we really have no idea where you might be. But if you really want to be found, here are some things to do:
- Go with someone else. Or don't, but let someone know where you are going and when you'll be back. Even a note in your car is better than nothing (we will break into it).
- Do some research. I'm constantly surprised at the people I see heading up a 12 mile trail at 4 pm, not knowing where it goes or anything about the area. Sunrise/sunset times are good to know.
- Carry stuff. Water, food, warm clothes, first aid supplies, bear spray if in grizzly habitat.
- Bring something to start a fire. It will keep you warm on an unexpected bivouac, and you can use it to signal searchers. You can see smoke a long way away, and believe me, if you start a fire, firefighters will come.
- Consider carrying personal locator beacons, SPOT receivers, etc.
- Take your phone. Even if there's no service, if you turn it on, your location can be pinged.
- Please, for all that is good and holy, don't leave your common sense at the trailhead. Warning signs are there for a reason. Rivers are cold and fast in the spring. Bears are grumpy and need to hear you coming.
- Be aware. If you go off trail, memorize landmarks. Take a map and compass, or carry a GPS, but know how to use them.
If you disappear, we will look for you. But before you step on the mountain or the trail, please take a moment to think. Please help us find you.