An article in the May 22 Steamboat Today, "Lost hiker found in good condition," states that the lost hiker told searchers "she had used a hiking guidebook to find a trail ... which she thought was a 1.5 mile loop, but it led to nothing but a series of confusing cattle and game trails ... most likely used by hunters."
To my knowledge, my hiking guidebook is the only one that covers this particular easy, short trail, so I would like to state for the record that my instructions specifically never call it a "loop hike," but rather instruct the reader (page 205): "Hunters have continued this trail downhill from the ridge (this hike's destination), but I suggest leaving that part of the trail to the hunters. Return the way you came."
If this hiker did use my book, please note that these very important instructions were overlooked or ignored.
For safety reasons, I would like to remind fellow hikers never to hike alone, to leave a detailed itinerary with someone and a time you expect to be home, instructing them to call 911 if you haven't contacted them by that time; take along warm clothing, rain gear, plenty of water, the appropriate Trails Illustrated or USGS map, a compass, a first aid kit and an emergency kit, which will help you to survive a night out in the wilderness, should that become necessary: waterproof matches, a candle, fire starter, hard candy, raisins, bouillon cubes, packs of sugar, several tea bags, two envelopes of dry soup mix, a whistle, small flashlight with extra batteries, two small space blankets, a signal mirror, a large folded sheet of aluminum foil, a plastic spoon and cup, string or cord, safety pins, small pad of paper and short pencil, red neckerchief, two large plastic leaf bags, 1 1/2 feet of duct tape rolled around a foot of rolled-up picture-hanging wire, and a pocket knife -- all put inside a small cooking pot or a metal tin can.
If you have one and know how to use it, a GPS can prove itself invaluable for staying on course. Take along a cell phone, but don't count on it working in most backcountry locations.
Especially if you are a novice hiker, before heading off into the backcountry, find, print out, read and digest a copy of the Mountain Rescue Association Training manual: www.mra.org/traininfo.html -- then click on "General backcountry safety student's workbook."
Also, remember to purchase a yearly Colorado Hiking Certificate at a local sporting goods store, which will cover all costs of a search and rescue effort, should one become necessary.
But please remember to hike safely in the first place, so that such an effort won't ever have to be made on your behalf.
author, "Hiking the 'Boat II"