So yesterday I was goofing around and didn’t even notice that Cyberhobo had scooped me on the best “lost hiker rescued” story since the advent of this blog. Even GoBlog beat me to the story. Yes, the shame is unbearable. But here’s what we do in the newspaper biz when we miss a big story on the first day: We pound it senseless on the second day.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the many news accounts of the remarkable survival of Carolyn Dorn, who lasted five weeks in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness until a couple backpackers found her over the weekend. The local paper nearest the action — the Silver City Sun News — had the most complete accounting. It mentioned this choice tidbit from Dorn’s rescuers:
Kottke said the canyon where they found Dorn was nearly wall-to-wall and traveling down it required crossing the river repeatedly. He added that she didn’t seem to have the kind of gear needed for a long stay in the wilderness.
“She was wearing all cotton clothes and her tent was not suitable for winter camping. It was like the kind you get at Wal-Mart,” Kottke said.
So much for “cotton is a killer” eh? Or maybe that’s why she never crossed back over the river that stranded her. …
The Las Cruces Sun-News (sister paper of the Silver City sheet) notes that Dorn set a new survival record. Until this weekend, nobody had made it more than 30 days in the Wilderness before being found alive. Dorn’s brother-in-law was her family’s de facto spokesman:
Monday, Dorn’s brother-in-law, Stan Conine, said the family was relieved to hear of Dorn’s rescue and was waiting for more news from her while screening calls from hundreds of media outlets across the globe.
“We have had calls from ‘Good Morning America,’ the ‘Today’ show, the L.A. Times, even a British newspaper,” Conine said. “I wish I had had these people three weeks ago.”
Yeah, well, in our biz we’re much better at ginning up the drama about a rescue than we are about actually getting people rescued. We also have no qualms about flogging a story our own inattention helped create (see Iraq war). But anyway…
The Albuquerque Tribune, furthest from the action, had fewer juicy details but did have this choice quote from one of the rescuers:
“It was luck that we took a longer route and went by her campsite, and it was luck that she saw us and called out to us,” his brother said. “If I’m in a similar position someday, I hope people will be there.”
As usual, regular people do what regular people do: help out other people if they get a chance. The duo who found her hiked 20 miles in 36 hours and stayed in town till she was safe in a local hospital. Nice work, guys.
I think of this blog as giving back to the hiker community in similar fashion. And as long as I’m here typing, there’s no need to worry about having to send a search party (the one that went looking for my brain after it was lost to the wilds of blogging gave up the search in 1998).