Monday, November 1, 2010

I Ain't No Hollaback Kid...City Kids Don't Hollaback, Yo! Do you?

I will never forget the following sentence long as I live.

"Growing up in the city you never holler back." - three lost geniuses
I'm going to preface this post by saying that there is a reason I don't typically poke fun at backcountry accidents, injuries, bad luck or marginally stupid decisions that occur in the wilds. Quite simply, shit happens and karma is a bitch. But even karma has to give me a break on this one.

Per the New York State DEC Region 5 Ranger Activity Report for October:

Town of Indian Lake, Jessup River Wild Forest. On Sunday, October 10, 2010, at 2:00 am, the DEC Dispatch Center in Ray Brook received a call from the DEC Lewey Lake Campground reporting 3 overdue hikers. David Ciaccia, 23, and Samantha Ciaccia, 22, both of Conshohocken PA, and Abagail Kite, 23, of Owins Mills, MD, had not returned from a day hike of Watch Hill. DEC Forest Rangers responded and searched through the night, covering most of the ground around Watch Hill while repeatedly calling out the names of the three hikers. At 8:30 am, the Rangers located the subjects in good condition. They reported that it had gotten dark as they were returning to the campground and they did not have flashlights, so they lost the trail. When asked if they could hear Forest Rangers calling for them, they said they had but stated that “growing up in the city you never holler back”. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp. Remember that the sun sets earlier in the fall and plan trips accordingly. If lost, help searchers found you by staying in one place; starting a fire or make noise; and answer searchers calls.

Now, one wouldn't say I grew up in the "city" but in terms of growing up in an urban environment, few would argue that fact. I'll be perfectly blunt, I've never heard of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania or Owins Mills, Maryland; as a matter of fact, I didn't know Pennsylvania had a city NOT named Pittsburgh, Harrisburg or Philadelphia. So I did a little search, and it turns out these lost souls had about as much urban upbringing as me. They were suburban urbanites. That is they grew up a stones throw but not quite in the city itself..

So moving on from that little point of conjecture, let me get to the real question. Did any of you who actually grew up in the 'burbs of a major city learn that, "growing up in the city you never holler back." And if you did, can you possibly point me to some place this little piece of urban wisdom is outlined, certainly future generations will want to know about how young urban hipsters lived back in the year 2000.

Assuming this is some sort of rule, would this rule apply while being lost in a 3 million acre forest preserve, so far from a city that the stars are insanely bright due to the lack of urban light pollution? A place that has a permanent resident population about the same as Wyoming, the CONUS least densely populous state? I guess I am asking, what possibly would motivate you at the age of 22 and 23 to not holler back?
Dear Karma gods, please bless my wife, but as she noted...

"They were "city kids" lost in the woods, did they think people were coming to kill them by calling out their names? How did they know all their names?"

I don't know? I'm sure no one can actually answer this, not even the 3 geniuses who caused the DEC Forest Rangers to spend a night searching the woods within earshot of the NOT SO lost hikers.

As you know, I am not a fan of charging for search and rescue because I feel it's counter productive, and most likely will cause people do delay the inevitable, ultimately causing deaths and/or more risk to rescue crews. Not to mention the fact that outdoor activities funnel far more revenue into a region than rescues pull out. That said, even I would have loved to have seen the DEC have the power to charge these people for a search. I bet you that would get some holler back!

This also leads me to wonder if they were sitting there in absolute silence? I mean if they were talking, Rangers probably would have heard them. So my guess is they were just sitting there hoping to not be found out of embarrassment and came up with a lame excuse.

Once DEC dispatch is called a log is created. Even if you walk out on your own, once a Ranger is sent to assist you get into the activity report for the month. So, even if you are embarrassed for getting lost and having people out calling your name, you might as well stand up and say, "hey, we are over here." Chances are the rescuers have food, warm liquids, and warm clothing packed in case you need them. Damn, if Rangers are looking for me and I know they have a thermos of warm soup or Starbucks hot cocoa, you can bet I'm gonna be hollering back!

And if you are raising city kids, please remind them that when lost in the forest that they should always holler back!

1 comment:

  1. This story is so funny it jumped the fence and became sad. These guys are idiots, or they had some other reasons not to holler back.