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Found a "missing" backpacker last weekend...
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Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Found a "missing" backpacker last weekend... on 03/22/2012 15:54:28 MDT Print View

Great story! (Michael's, too!) This helping one another out out there is one of the things that I simply love about backpacking. And it's universal, too. I've seen it everywhere I've hiked in the world.

Having on several occasions almost died, too (the first time when I was walking solo the alpine regions of Japan for the first time and was caught by a fierce, unbelievably strong storm that appeared out of nowhere... and three elderly men just happened to walk by and saved me. The second and third times when I accidentally took too much insulin and didn't have sufficient food to cover it... the first time I just dug out every scrap of garbage I was carrying and scraped together enough carbohydrates to make it down the mountain, the second time an angel in the form of a elderly French lady had enough chocolate on her to stave off the hypoglycemia) and several other occasions helped people out of dangerous situations in the mountains, the two stories above really pluck a chord in me.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Meds on 03/22/2012 15:56:00 MDT Print View

"NO! An antibiotic is totally pointless here. All he needed to do was rest and flush the bug out of his system."

And if you can find water, stay next to it. You can live a long time in the desert with shade and water. Also you would not be leaving your gear behind as he did.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
And another one on 03/22/2012 16:35:29 MDT Print View

Here's one more in the vein of Michael's that happened to friends during a late-winter Trans-Sierra.

They were skiing along in the drainage to the west of Mammoth ski resort. And found a downhill skiier. He'd gotten turned around on top and skied off the wrong side of the mountain. He knew he was out-of-bounds but didn't realize he was on the wrong side of the mountains. He figured if he kept skiing down, he'd reach the parking lot, area roads, or, heck, Highway 395.

They stopped then and there, made camp a little early, fed him, watered him, stuffed him in between their sleeping bags that night, fed him the next morning and encouraged him to abandon his downhill skis (he was reluctant) and start for the ridge at daybreak so he might make it before evening.

He probably made it, but there's nothing in that drainage - if he hadn't happened on them (in those pre-cell, pre-sat days), he'd have been a goner for sure.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Meds on 03/22/2012 16:45:21 MDT Print View

> This is a good reason to carry a wide spectrum antibiotic
> NO! An antibiotic is totally pointless here.

Agreed - if Roger is right (and it totally fits the profile), or even if it was Giardia - that's not a bacteria, so antibiotics don't help with a anaerobic protozoan parasite.

But "simple gastro" could have been prevented in so many ways - good water and soap hand washing or a spot of alcohol hand sanitizer. Ever since doing a 15-person, 16-day Colorado River trip with rigorous santitation practices and NO problems (despite all the gyrations and handling of "The Groover", I've been bringing along the hand sanitizer.

IMNSHO, the biggest infectious risk during a well-run trip should be from having lots of sex.

David Affleck
Re: Re: Re: Meds on 03/22/2012 17:14:32 MDT Print View

Great, interesting comments from everyone. Thank you!

And, my guess, at the time, was a "hand washing" issue. No way to know for sure, ever, though.

His decision making had obviously begun to deteriorate, too. He made a series of decisions in the 48-72 hours before we found him that, with hindsight, I think he'd have done differently. He would have suffered less and increased his chances of rescue and/or self extraction greatly by doing a few things differently. Like, for instance, the last decision he made, which was to leave a parking area next to a Jeep trail with picnic tables and a pit toilet, when he didn't have the strength to make it 700 yards before collapsing. Or, as just mentioned, staying by the potholes he had found the night before. There were other decisions made before these that all kind of piled up on him. And, I should note, my impression of him was that he was actually a very intelligent young man.

But I think it is pretty normal for most people in that kind of condition and that much stress to start making poor choices though. Very intelligent people included. And, for me, that's the really important lesson to take home from this - when you find your tail in a crack (and I have...) - slow down and THINK. The kids and I have had several discussions about this already and that is the theme I'm trying to drive home to them.

- Dave

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: on 03/22/2012 17:24:11 MDT Print View

Wow!! Amazing... and wonderful!!

Edited by ben2world on 03/22/2012 17:25:27 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Intelligence isn't wisdom on 03/22/2012 17:24:18 MDT Print View

> a very intelligent young man.

We were all once very intelligent young men. Who did stupid things sometimes.

Close calls, reflection, and the fuller development of our frontal lobes in our late 20's enable those that survive to act more carefully in the future.

I have those kinds of discussions with my kids in the hopes that the consicous application of their intelligence might get them through their teens and early 20s with relative few and relative minor trips to the ER.

That and practice, practice, and practice. They don't think about putting on their seat belt - they just do it. They shouldn't consider whether to treat water or wash their hands - they should just do it out of habit.

jody carter
(finbox) - F
I hike solo all the time on 03/22/2012 17:34:20 MDT Print View

And I always Cary one of these, works great. Fishing 100+ miles offshore has taught me to always have one on your person (EPIRB for the boat)

Brent Mahan

Locale: Southern New Hampshire
"People in the woods are always the nicest people" on 03/23/2012 07:52:12 MDT Print View

Wow. Great stories. I'm always proud to be a hiker and be a part of the "outdoors community." I'll be careful to pack extra medicine in my next first-aid kit on a long trip.

I was out backpacking in Fall Creek Falls State Park here in Tennessee last weekend. When I was nearing the end of my hike and was back to the crowded parts of the park I passed a group of overweight teens trying to use the self timer to take a picture of their group on a rock (wasn't working well). I stopped and asked them if they'd like me to take their picture.

It was a very simple thing to take a person's picture, but the response I got I think pretty much sums it up:

"Thanks! People in the woods are always the nicest people."

I told them I completely agreed with them, took their picture, smiled and went on my way.

Edited by thenerb on 03/23/2012 07:54:21 MDT.

steven franchuk
It might not have been an infection on 03/23/2012 21:41:22 MDT Print View

The symptoms he had could have been caused by many different things other than an infection. The vomiting could have been caused by dehydration, electrolight imbalance, dowl obstruction, Cardio vascular problems and many other issues. Also when you are dehydrated and suddenly have water available most people want to take several big swallows of water, which will cause you to vamit it all up. Instead you should take only take very small drinks (1/4 cup or so) and wait several minutes before the next drink. This will allow you to keep it down and absorb it.

Canyonlands is a desert environment. Given the lack of water sources he could have easily gotten slightly dehydrated hiking between water sources. Being slightly dehydrated for days could have slowly lead to an electrolyte imbalance and or bowl problems. If that was the case one bad day of very little to no water intake could have made his slight chronic dehydration much worse. Once that occurred he started to vomit when drinking or eating which would have made the dehydration worse. At that point he is loosing much of the water he is carrying simply because he isn't keeping it down. Once he reached this point the only solution is to stop at a good water source and stay there until your fully rehydrated. He didn't do that.

We don't know what the doctors found. Simply saying he had bad water and got an infection is is an easy answer which could easily be wrong.

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Found a "missing" backpacker last weekend... on 03/23/2012 22:18:41 MDT Print View

There may be a particularly long lasting and contagious form of Gastro-E going around this year.

Check this current thread:

Which is admittedly in Virginia as opposed to Utah,; but something has been making the rounds on the OBX and infecting people who don't "normally" get G.E. and it also seems to last longer than the usual 48-72 hours.

These things seem to pass coast to coast a lot faster these days.

I'm curious where this guy was hiking off trail if he was found on the trail between the parking area off Devils Lane south of Chesler Park and the beginning of the Joint, which is what fits the description. Had he been hiking west towards the river in the Grabens/Red Lake area? or maybe south along Butler wash towards Beef Basin or Bobby's Hole? You can't really hike off trail to the east or north of that location except a short ways into Virginia Park. Also there's water north and east..... lots of water in Elephant Canyon a couple miles east

Just curious.