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kiliki
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PostThu Aug 29, 2019 5:34 pm 
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Seems like SAR and the media don't want to harsh on lost hikers even after they are found, and I get that, but I would love to see something--maybe a blog by a SAR person? That talks to the found hikers and puts together a "lessons learned" article. Yosemite does it, or, did through last year anyway.
https://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/psarblog.htm

It seems like it could be very instructive, especially to all the new hikers that are out there.

And it would satisfy my curiosity--how did he lose his shoes??

Quote:
“I didn’t know if (the mushrooms) were poisonous or not, I didn’t care,” said James. “I had no shoes for five days

I don't know my 'shrooms. It's not a bad idea to learn the poisonous ones, I can see now.
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CarriesNineFires
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PostThu Aug 29, 2019 6:23 pm 
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kiliki wrote:
Seems like SAR and the media don't want to harsh on lost hikers even after they are found, and I get that, but I would love to see something--maybe a blog by a SAR person? That talks to the found hikers and puts together a "lessons learned" article.

Yes, that would be interesting and I'm sure it's out there already.

I spent a few hours in the King County SAR mobile command center (an impressive vehicle, to say the least) while waiting for a friend to get carried down from Gem Lake on a Stokes litter by about 30 volunteers. I heard plenty of fun, interesting and sad stories from those guys. Some of the cases they cited involved people who were ostensibly imperiled enough to summon help but then, once they were given water and had the comfort of assistance, were indignant and ungrateful for the escort out of the mountains that was now their only option. I suppose people get embarrassed, or they are overwhelmed, and some, I assume, are good people.

These volunteers are highly trained and experienced in specific aspects of search and rescue and they are pretty confident that they know the thought processes of coherent and incoherent subjects. The insight they possess makes for great stories.
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Brushwork
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PostThu Aug 29, 2019 7:01 pm 
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It would seem that one lesson would be to not have your gear, including boots very close to a fire, especially if under the influence.....

but a more pertinent one might be that an off trail “short cut” may not be a good idea.   If they went down the way they came, they at least would have been  nearer if not on the trail and would have been found sooner.

I'm sure I’m sure I’m not the only one who takes “short cuts” ...

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Bedivere
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PostThu Aug 29, 2019 9:22 pm 
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Where are you guys getting these quotes from?  I don't see any links to any articles about this, other than the blurb in the Times and from the Sheriff's dept. on Facebook that just says they were found.

Lost a boot and his sleeping bag in a campfire accident?  That sounds like Whisky fueled shenanigans to me.

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rbuzby
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PostThu Aug 29, 2019 9:54 pm 
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Here it is.  Harold Engles would not impressed.



https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/snohomish-county-sheriffs-office-searching-for-missing-hikers/979931779
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Chief Joseph
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PostThu Aug 29, 2019 10:49 pm 
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""Every time I saw a creek, I'd just fill my belly up with that water," he said."....He might come down with another problem in a week or so...

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Bedivere
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PostFri Aug 30, 2019 12:11 am 
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Thanks rbuzby.

What were they thinking?  Going down into Sulphur Creek isn't a shortcut, especially since there's no maintained trail there.

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Sculpin
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PostFri Aug 30, 2019 7:03 am 
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kiliki wrote:
I don't know my 'shrooms. It's not a bad idea to learn the poisonous ones, I can see now.

Eating raw mushrooms might make your tummy feel better, but it will not postpone starvation.  If you analyze mushroom in the lab, you will find that it has protein.  However, little if any of the protein is metabolized under the best of circumstances, and those circumstances would always involve cooking to break down the indigestible fiber to some degree.  What you need are carbs to burn and mushrooms do not have any.

It would be useful to know all the berries, because they do have abundant carbs.  I could have made a meal of thimbleberries on my hike out yesterday.   agree.gif   However, the edible thimbleberries, raspberries, and serviceberries were mixed with the toxic berries of Actaea rubra.

And by all means drink the water!  That girl that walked out from a plane crash a few years ago had been brainwashed into thinking that the pristine creek water would make her sick.  So she got severely dehydrated while hiking next to some of the finest water in the northern hemisphere.   shakehead.gif

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Doppelganger
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PostFri Aug 30, 2019 7:43 am 
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Bedivere wrote:
Thanks rbuzby.

What were they thinking?  Going down into Sulphur Creek isn't a shortcut, especially since there's no maintained trail there.

My first guess was that they didn't want to climb back up the ridge to the Downey Creek drainage (assuming the accuracy of their reported itenerary), but I did seem to remember something about an "old shortcut" up there, see copy/paste below from an old old post here  wink.gif

Quote:
"...family members believe their intended route was Downey Creek Trail to Bachelor Creek to Cub Lake," deputies wrote in a news release.

(to... nowhere! they should go out with a complete itinerary next time so they know how to get back)  clown.gif  biggrin.gif

From Harry Majors, back in 2003 - anyone know if he ever pumped out the new Monte Cristo book, or could be coaxed back to the forum for a few more stories? One of the replies has an old picture (Metsker?) showing the trail extending further up the drainage, but not to the end.
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3231

Harry Majors wrote:
The old Sulphur Creek Trail represents one of the most historically significant trails in the North Cascades, for it follows the traditional route by which the Sauk, Suiattle, and Chelan Indians crossed the Cascade Crest via Kaiwhat Pass. Railroad surveyor Daniel C. Linsley followed this route up the Suiattle River and Sulphur Creek in June 1870, during his search for a feasible crossing point for the Northern Pacific. Years later, in July 1938, it was via the Sulphur Creek Trail that the original four Ptarmigans began the first Ptarmigan Traverse, camping that first night out "on an island in the middle of the creek" (1958 Mountaineer, p. 56). At this time, the Sulphur Creek Trail offered the shortest approach route to Dome Peak.

(While they were at the Darrington Ranger Station securing campfire permits, Forest Guard Nels Bruseth, who had been in the Dome Peak area in 1935 during a reconnaissance for the Cascade Crest Trail, strongly advised the four Ptarmigans against attempting the trek to Cascade Pass, warning them that it was far too rugged an area of the Cascades for cross-country travel. Fortunately, they did not heed his advice.)

The Forest Service originally intended to extend the trail so as to intersect with the proposed Cascade Crest Trail, but work on the extension had ceased by the outbreak of war in 1941. In recent years, the Sulphur Creek Trail has essentially been abandoned. And that historic inaugural campsite of the Ptarmigans, where they sat around their first campfire on the first night of their momentous journey, talking with eager excitement and anticipation of what wonders might lie ahead of them, still remains there, in undisturbed solitude, "on an island in the middle of the creek," its exact location forever unknown  ---  the only section of the original Ptarmigan Traverse which is not visited or repeated by present-day parties, and the only part of the traverse which still remains today as it did during that historic July in 1938.

There are indeed still some secrets left in the North Cascades, few of which are more closely guarded than those of Sulphur Creek.

Harry Majors wrote:
As for the progressively deteriorating Sulphur Creek Trail  ---  Dick and I have followed the pathway for a total of two miles from the road, to a point where it once crossed the creek via a single planked foot-log. At this site, where a large fallen Douglas-fir tree on the right leads to the creek, the trail seemingly vanished, so Dick searched on the right toward the creek, while I continued on ahead into a marshy, impenetrable thicket. Here I noticed a log that had been partially sawn through many years ago, probably when the trail was first being located and cleared, but the effort had evidently been abandoned. Other than this, there was no sign of any pathway. The trail had simply vanished.

While I was endeavoring to extricate myself from the thicket, Dick called to me from a point near the creek, saying that he had found the trail. He had walked along the top of the large fallen Doug-fir tree heading toward Sulphur Creek. Toward the end of this tree he noticed, ahead and to the right, a single cut stump where, years ago, some party had felled a Doug-fir tree using a crosscut saw  ---  the only place along the entire first two miles of trail where a large standing tree had been cut down. Wondering why this particular tree had been cut and where the fallen trunk might be, Dick looked toward the adjacent creek and saw the remnant:  the tree had been cut to bridge the creek, and the log span had then been planked to provide a more secure footing. (The Forest Service party that had been locating the trail evidently decided to avoid the thicket at this point by routing the trail to the south side of the creek.)

This rustic improvised bridge had broken in half years ago, probably during a winter of heavy snowfall when the trunk was weakened from rot. The north half was nowhere to be seen, probably having been carried downstream during an autumn flood or spring freshet. But the south half of the foot-log still remained, anchored to the opposite side of the creek, with its broken end perched high in the air above the rushing waters of the stream.

Beyond this wrecked footbridge, Sulphur Creek holds yet another secret, another of the great mysteries of the North Cascades  ---  the first campsite of the original Ptarmigan Traverse party of 1938. The trail once continued beyond this crossing for another 2 or 3 miles, but Dick and I have never gone beyond the wrecked bridge. Although the creek might be fordable in late season for a short distance above the bridge, the open and sunny south side of the creek presents too brushy an environment in which to attempt to locate the old trail. Abandoned trails such as this are best preserved and most easily followed in the forest, where deep shade inhibits the growth of underbrush. East of the open area, the old abandoned trail is probably still visible at places on the south side of the creek where it again enters the forest, but this will have to wait for another time and another visit.

(The Sulphur Creek Trail held another surprise for us during one mid-May visit, for it was along this pathway that Dick discovered a patch of the rare white variety of the calypso orchid, Calypso bulbosa.)

Edit: For what it's worth, the old Mountaineers articles on the first and second Ptarmigan Traverses offer additional details on the Sulphur Creek drainage and the routes originally taken. (The Ptarmigans and Their Ptrips, by Harvey Manning in particular; another article by one of the members of the second "What's South of Cascade Pass" group to complete the traverse is also available, Lowell Skoog has a page up on the traverse as well). If one were to calculate the average speed of a Model A from the Seattle area to the TH and average footspeed for the expedition's first day of 7-7.5 hours of hiking (all in 1938 conditions), one might have either wasted a bunch of time or narrowed down the potential area of the Lost Island campfire!
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slabbyd
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PostFri Aug 30, 2019 8:25 am 
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I know a guy who knows a guy who was attacked or harassed by Sasquatch while making some sort of non-standard direct descent to Cub Lake west of Itswoot Ridge.    In heavy brush something started shrieking and throwing large chunks of tree bark at them.   Eventually necessitating a retreat.   I think this was all 20+ years ago now.   Cool story, I hope these two rednecks speak up!
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rbuzby
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PostFri Aug 30, 2019 8:38 am 
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Sculpin wrote:
And by all means drink the water!  That girl that walked out from a plane crash a few years ago had been brainwashed into thinking that the pristine creek water would make her sick.  So she got severely dehydrated while hiking next to some of the finest water in the northern hemisphere.  shakehead.gif

This seems to be very common now, and it drives me totally nuts.  There was a TR of a guy who was climbing in the Colonial peak area, and he said he got severely dehydrated because his water filter broke, and he didn't want to drink the water coming out of the snow!  Incredible.  Yes, filter your water when you can, but no, the water up in the mountains is not poisonous, and giardia is not in every drop of water. Not even close.
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Chief Joseph
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PostFri Aug 30, 2019 9:09 am 
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Sculpin wrote:
And by all means drink the water!  That girl that walked out from a plane crash a few years ago had been brainwashed into thinking that the pristine creek water would make her sick.  So she got severely dehydrated while hiking next to some of the finest water in the northern hemisphere.  shakehead.gif

Well, sure you have to drink the water, but that doesn't mean you won't come down with Giardia later. Myself, I never hike without a filter now. I had Giardia once and it was brutal, it hit me about a week and a half after drinking questionable water.

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Sculpin
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PostFri Aug 30, 2019 9:32 am 
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Chief Joseph wrote:
Well, sure you have to drink the water, but that doesn't mean you won't come down with Giardia later.

OK, don't want to thread-bomb about water, as it has been covered elsewhere, but I have been drinking cold, clear water directly from mountain streams for 37 years and have never had a problem.  At this point, I am sure I have sampled every major drainage in the state, plus many more throughout the west.

Not everyone who gets exposed gets sick, and very few water sources have been cultured, so you can't resolve this by seeking out the science.  A peer-reviewed paper exists that will tell you that all the water is safe, none of the water is safe, and everything in between.   dizzy.gif

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PostFri Aug 30, 2019 10:34 am 
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Chief Joseph wrote:
Well, sure you have to drink the water, but that doesn't mean you won't come down with Giardia later. Myself, I never hike without a filter now. I had Giardia once and it was brutal, it hit me about a week and a half after drinking questionable water.

I had a round as well...but it is not worse than dying of dehydration or a mistake made because you're dehydrated.

Most of the water is fine. It's that you can't tell what few sources are not at any given time, which is the real issue.

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Bronco
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PostFri Aug 30, 2019 11:16 am 
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kiliki wrote:
Seems like SAR and the media don't want to harsh on lost hikers even after they are found, and I get that, but I would love to see something--maybe a blog by a SAR person? That talks to the found hikers and puts together a "lessons learned" article.

Check out the FB page for Snohomish County Search and Rescue, they published a post this spring/summer with general advice for newbs.  Not that a 60 year old from Darrington is going to pay it much heed.   smile.gif

Brie Loewen published a couple of books on her experiences in Seattle Mountain Rescue:  A Life in Mountain Rescue
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