Blue John Canyon is apparently a tough place. You may recall it from Aaron Ralston's little misadventure (he's the guy who cut off his arm after being trapped in the canyon for 3 days, in case you've been trapped in a canyon for the last 3 years). Well just recently, Amos Richards went for a hike in Lower Blue John Canyon, fell about 10 feet, and suffered extensive leg trauma.
The 64-year-old North Carolinian, managed to crawl for three days, while astute rangers pieced together where he might have gone and began an extensive search. Richards was carrying 5 liters of water and a couple of energy bars, which along with his epic will to live, probably saved his life.
I love a good survival story, which if you read the GoBlog you may have noticed. There's always a little something to learn - for example, Richards didn't tell anyone where he was going which is clearly not a good idea when you're hiking alone. He did however pack extra water and extra food which is a good idea, regardless of who you're hiking with or without.
What struck me most about this story was the comment stream on National Parks Traveler. Very few pointed out that Richards is clearly a tough SOB, fewer still lauded the Park Service and the dedicated rangers for noticing an unoccupied campsite miles away from where Richards was found and piecing together his itinerary and initiating a successful search. What many of them did find cause to comment on was that Amos Richards decided to go hiking alone. There was much back and forth. One person suggested solo hikers wear dog tags, so that the body could be identified. Are you serious? Hiking alone is a great. Just leave a note, bring extra food and water, tone it down a bit, and be prepared to break your leg and crawl for three days. Via National Parks Traveler
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