Archive | September 18, 2015

A Darwin award that didn’t need to happen

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-victims-zion-national-park-californians-20150918-story.html

I’m sorry but I have very little sympathy for these people. If you are warned there could be a flash flood, you do not go, period.

Common sense should tell you that. I’ve have both a degree in Outdoor Recreation/Naturalist Interpreter and experience.

I have seen a wall of mud three feet high appear in less than 5 minutes. You cannot out run it. It will take anything in its path out. A wall of water 8 inches deep or more is capable of taking you out with very little trouble. If you live in the west and you hear that flash flood warning and you still go out to do something, you are a Darwin award waiting to happen.

Part of my degree was taking, survival, backpacking and rock climbing. They were required, as was a lovely class called High Risk Outdoor Recreation. It was such fun, every day was movies or pictures for a semester of things that could get you killed if you did them. This included bodies post avalanche, bear attack, snake bite, scorpion bites, forest fire, what happens if you are swimming during a lightning storm and other fun things like after a flash flood. I think those pictures are seared into my brain. The professor was dead serious about what happens if you are stupid or were a stupid guide.

The message was clear don’t be stupid, don’t take unnecessary chances. AND DON”T ENDANGER OTHERS!

I’ve done the stupid, I got hit by lightning while trying to get some kids in whose idiot counselor had them playing in the rain during a lightning storm.

I’ve done a Class IV rapid a day after two people were killed on the river with almost no training and got a 3rd degree sunburn for my stupidity.

I’ve hit a deer while driving on an unlit mountain road.

I’ve had an Great Horned Owl fly into my driver’s side windshield on an unlit mountain road while on a curve lovingly called Dead Man’s curve.

I’ve gotten heat stroke on a backpack trip leading kids because one kid left their water behind because it was “too heavy” and I gave them mine. I proceeded to take the longer harder bushwhacking trail instead of the right one because I couldn’t think clearly. And I did with a broken toe because the same idiot child put their metal framed backpack on a rock and it started to slide. Backpacks with metal frames tend to break when hitting the ground fully loaded in the old days so I stuck my foot out to stop it. I should have let it fall and sent the kid back to camp.

I’ve done a myriad of stupid that i know I have forgotten.

I’ve done the stupid and I, hopefully will never do the stupid again.

I’ve seen more than one flash flood move through a camp on a summer day. Often in places where it hasn’t rained where we were but it had rained at a higher elevation and you had a bright sunny sky.

You don’t leave your car if you have to in a flash flood. You do not ford streams higher than your hiking boots in flooding and you sure as hell do not go into a bottle neck canyon when there is a warning.

There is risk taking and there is stupid, Don’t be stupid.

It’s terrible for their families but what they did when they were warned is just dumbassed.

Note: They also very selfishly endangered the rescue personnel who should not have to go after the stupids.