You may have read about the two people who wandered off during a hike in the San Jacinto mountains of Southern California and survived their three-night ordeal after finding the backpack of John Donovan, another lost hiker who has never been found, one year to the day that he went missing (Here's the MSNBC story.) What the news stories glossed over, however, was that they were attending a meeting at the time they went missing. Here's the unofficial story from someone on the meeting planning team of that conference.
The meeting organizer hired a
I'm not sure what finally tripped the alarm, but on Monday morning the meeting organizer met with deputies and the Palm Springs Sheriffâ€™s department, and within an hour they were up on the mountain. A helicopter spotted the fire the lost hikers had lit with matches from Donovan's backpack. Apparently, they thought they heard a waterfall, and in seeking it wandered off the path and into a ravine with a drop-off into a gulley. They stumbled into an abandoned camp and there found the lifesaving backpack.
Lesson learned? Ask for the tour sheets. Donâ€™t assume the DMC or tour guide will tell you if the beginning and end tallies don't match up. Question everything, even if you think you donâ€™t have a question to ask.