I’m just back from a roadtrip to visit relatives back East. I’m still digesting my own experiences, which may turn into a column or two or perhaps further posts here. But no story of mine could possibly top the adventures of these Pennsylvania tourists at the Grand Canyon. I try not to second-guess with these stories, but I came away with two lessons on this one. First, stay with the vehicle, and second, never split up. Also, build a fire — if nothing else will burn, siphon gas out of the tank, soak the spare tire and set it alight (important safety tip: remove tire from vehicle first). May not do much to keep you warm but the column of black smoke can serve as a distress signal.
I would hope that even the most feckless back-country traveler would carry matches or a lighter, although this search and rescue guy apparently didn’t have one when he and his young family got stuck in the woods in November. Other than that omission, the lack of a cell phone and leaving his wife and kids in the vehicle while he tried to walk out, he did OK. At least they had Halloween candy for emergency supplies. Personally, I recommend an emergency kit like this, plus ax & shovel, water, blankets or sleeping bag, and e-rats for any back country travel, even on paved roads and regardless of the season..
I’m kind of surprised the PA family was on the North Rim. I know the Lodge up there is closed, and I thought even the paved road to the Rim was closed in winter. Story doesn’t say what they were driving, but I wouldn’t venture into that country without a sturdy 4WD pickup towing a snowmobile this time of year.