In commemoration of the OGC approval of KML as an open standard to share geographic content over the web, I'd like to share our recent "Hike of Doom #2" (kml provided by Mark Dotson).
The first weekend to hit 90 degrees, my friends and I travel inland to dive and swim in the Santa Ynez river. It is billed as a "30 minute" hike to our favorite watering hole. It becomes much more than that.
Of course the road leading up to the trailhead is closed due to construction so we have 3 miles of hiking on pavement just to get to the former trailhead- the Red Rocks parking lot.
Then the fun begins. A decent rainy season and some dam releases make for high flows and we've got half-dozen major river crossings to contend with. The recent fires added a good deal of organic matter to the river and the algae has bloomed accordingly. It is a wet, hot, rocky and slimy hike.
We make it to the swimming hole and enjoy the day. We dive, laugh, have a few beers.
The sun sets and the fun _ really _ begins.
Klaus, the Bavarian cyclist whom we'd met at the swimming hole, met up with us just after my girlfriend, Joselyne, sprained her ankle on a rock. Her ankle hadn't started to swell yet but I could tell, drawing from my basketball injuries from the past, that she was not putting weight on it any time soon. We fashioned crutches from some driftwood. We met up with some turkey hunters (dressed in more camouflage more effective than most military uniforms) who helped us out by providing us some ankle wrap.
David and Andy began the trek back to the car to get help. The rest of us could either go back via the river bed , a rocky and treacherous endeavor given the setting sun, or head up to the main road and get some help. We decided on the main road and Shaun took off to alert the others to our plans. The main fire road was a trek in the _ opposite_ direction - longer, more elevation changes but smooth enough for a bike or truck and more accessible to vehicles.
I carried Jos, over my shoulder fireman-style and/or piggy-back, over the river crossings.
On the flats, Mark and I pushed Jos on Klaus' bike.
We pushed on up the trail until we reached the main road. Klaus, after drinking the last of our beer, biked up to the dam keeper's residence at Gibraltar Dam while Christina, Sarah, Mark, Jos and I continued up the trail. A half-hour later, Klaus and the dam keeper arrived in a pickup and drove the rest of us back to the Red Rock "parking lot".
But the construction and rebar on the causeway meant there was no way to cross with a normal vehicle so we went by foot. Jos got back on Klaus' bike and we pushed.
Luckily the slight downhill grade allowed her to glide back for a good portion, graciously sparing Mark and I from permanent back injury.
Meanwhile the away team had gotten some semblance of cellular reception and attempted to call the authorities. The goal was to get a ranger truck to drive out to get us or at least unlock the gate to meet us half way at the Red Rock parking lot. The authorities response was fantastic if not a bit overzealous. By the time we had gotten within a 1/4 mile of our car, we spotted helicopters. Then a firetruck. Then an ambulance. Joselyne was coasting by on Klaus' bike and they didn't even stop for her on the first pass! Apparently expecting to rescue a mangled body from the wilderness, the EMTs were somewhat disappointed at the less challenging situation they faced - a girl, coasting down the road on a bike with a sprained ankle.
We were back in the car, on the road before dark and got home in time for pizza.
So what did we learn from this? Well as a Boy Scout, I am ashamed to say I wasn't prepared. A well prepped emergency kit would have helped a lot. At least we had an LED headlamp. Some rope would have gone a long way towards making a stretcher. An instant-ice-pack, ankle wrap and some ibuprofen would have been handy. We were wet and the mercury was falling quickly; some emergency shelter and clothing would have assuaged my concerns about the nighttime chill.
But this was offset by the generosity of the many people we met for the first time - The hunters who lent us their medical supplies, the dam keeper who got up from his Sunday dinner to make sure we got back safely, the EMTs who put tremendous resources into organizing a military-scale search party, Klauss who so generously stuck with us and shared with us his bike, his wisdom and his company. Without their help and our group of friends, the story might have a less happy ending.
Never underestimate the power of human kindness, generosity and cooperation! And never believe me when I say it's a short hike.