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Topic: Hikers die on  the Ozark Trail< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 14 2013, 9:01 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tragic

http://www.stltoday.com/news....85.html
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 14 2013, 3:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Completely tragic. Dayhikes can turn bad so very quickly.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 14 2013, 3:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow, that is so sad.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 14 2013, 3:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Ozarks and Ouachitas can be as treacherous as any other mountains.  You have to use your sense and know the forecast.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 14 2013, 4:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi...


What a terrible tragedy...Yet, I think that we can all learn something from it. :(
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 14 2013, 11:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ugh, sad. A couple of hours in cold rain is pretty darn scary, even if you have top dollar rainwear, and from the article I'm not sure they had any rainwear with them.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 15 2013, 7:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It's so sad.  It always breaks my heart when I hear about hikers going out unprepared for the weather.  I know we always say that weather is unpredictable, but we should at least try to be prepared to face whatever comes our way.  I feel so bad for the mother.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 15 2013, 10:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Reading the article, I just can't even begin to imagine...  :(

It made me think back and consider how many times my son and I've set off on a "no brainer" dayhike with the dog, unprepared for something like this.  These days, I typically throw in a small silnylon tarp, so we'd at least be dry.  Just so sad.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 21 2013, 3:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Horrible and heartbreaking story. I cannot tell you how much I hate reading these types of stories. I have a young son, and the thought of leaving him and Mrs. Jack, or him leaving us, is gut-wrenching.

We all know that in hindsight these situations are relatively easily avoided. I did several OTA Middle Fork outings that used Brushy Creek as the staging area, and later hiked the Middle Fork north to south, ending at the Brushy Creek Lodge where we had left our car. I don't recall the spur from the OTA to BC being very well marked.

It appears that they were offered a ride around 2pm at a point near Suttons Bluff. This puts them roughly 6-8 miles from their lodge at Brushy Creek, with approximately 3 hours of daylight left, and a forecast calling for a dramatic fall in temps and possible precipitation.

If I am a father with two youngsters, don't I accept the ride at that point? Do I not know how far away the lodge is? Do I not know how much light is left? Do I not know about the weather changes coming?

Why do I put anything to chance in those circumstances?

Only God knows what happened. But may He bless that family.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 21 2013, 3:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Unfortunately, People lose track of time and where they are at. Plus hypothermia or even just being cold affects your decision making processes.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 21 2013, 4:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

At 2 pm on Saturday, it was sunny and 61 degrees with a strong southwest wind. Sounds like a beautiful day.

Sunset was at 5:14 pm, at which point it was 57 degrees, still southwest wind.

At midnight, it was still 48 degrees, but the wind had shifted northwest. The chill factor was 42.

There was a full moon until almost 2am, but under those conditions it would not help you find your way.

The report said that their bodies were soaking wet, but the weather almanac reports clear skies the entire night.

Damn. With a bit better luck, they might have made it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 8:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Please disregard my previous post. It is incorrect, as the weather report from weather underground is not consistent with the news reports of heavy rain that day.

I tried to edit or delete the post, but for some reason the system does not allow it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 11:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Hungry Jack @ Jan. 22 2013, 8:58 am)
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Please disregard my previous post. It is incorrect, as the weather report from weather underground is not consistent with the news reports of heavy rain that day.

I tried to edit or delete the post, but for some reason the system does not allow it.

The weather dropped fast that day. It went from the 60's and perfect to 32 and raining hard pretty quick. It was one of those days you would kick yourself for not getting outside if you didn't. I was driving in the car and you could watch the temperature in the car just drop. I often throw my down quilt in the bag if you going by myself on a new trail. Will probably do that more often with a tarp.

I could see how this could happen pretty easily if you got lost or were far from the trailhead. Feel for the family.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 9:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Heavy rain seemed to be a factor. Here's a URL I've found useful for assessing amounts of expected. precip. and time of arrival.

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/qpf2.shtml
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 22 2013, 10:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Honestly, the first rule of surviving the elements is staying dry. These poor folks had little chance as the father reportedly had a jacket, and the sons had a sweater and a fleece.

These stories break my heart.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 23 2013, 4:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

What gnaws at me is the description of this being an "adventurous" family and the father as an "experienced" hiker.  Seems to me that these are misused terms.  When my body is found in the woods, I think I want the story to refer to me as a novice so everyone can ask "what was he thinking?"  I feel so bad for the mother but I just keep wondering if we know the entire story.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 2:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hard to day but I wonder how much the kids came into play.  From my own experience from when my son and his friends were in the 8 to 10 year range, kids can go from highly energized to the verge of collapse in a short span of time.  Maybe the Dad could have walked out on his own but when the kids go down, there would be no way he could leave them.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 9:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WiscoHiker @ Jan. 23 2013, 4:29 pm)
QUOTE
What gnaws at me is the description of this being an "adventurous" family and the father as an "experienced" hiker.  Seems to me that these are misused terms.  When my body is found in the woods, I think I want the story to refer to me as a novice so everyone can ask "what was he thinking?"  I feel so bad for the mother but I just keep wondering if we know the entire story.

Completely agree. We can only go by what the papers say, but I have a hard time believing that anyone here who would describe him/her self as an "experienced" hiker would make some of the decisions that were apparently made:

- Venturing out for a hike in January without a thorough awareness of the forecast, especially one that called for such a drastic change in conditions
- Venturing out for a hike in January without layered, weatherproof protective gear
- Reaching your turnaround point 9 miles in (the OTA reported distance from the Brushy Creek Lodge spur junction to Sutton Bluff) at 2pm, leaving only 3 hours to cover 9 miles with young children
- Reportedly turning down a ride back at this point time (2 pm) as the rain was reportedly beginning, knowing the time and distance left and the condition of the clothing.

I don't want to cast any dispersion on the family, but it seems that there were some lapses in judgment that led up to this horrific tragedy. It just pains me to think that this could have been avoided with better discretion. Those kids...


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 9:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The curious thing is the article describing the tragedy in a British paper's webpage was accompanied by a photo showing the man and his two sons in what appeared to be Boy scout uniforms , I got the impression he was a leader of some sort. Which took my by surprise.

This might be the same story (its the photos i remember) running in a NY paper.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news....1240338
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 9:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Eric H @ Jan. 22 2013, 9:29 pm)
QUOTE
Heavy rain seemed to be a factor. Here's a URL I've found useful for assessing amounts of expected. precip. and time of arrival.

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/qpf2.shtml

OK. I found it on Weather Underground. The almanac for that Saturday in Black, MO notes 2" of rain, which is obviously a major event.  The high was 57, the low 32. 32 was also the high on Sunday, which tells that the temps hit freezing right about midnight. Precip on Sunday was negligible.

So yes, it got cold, windy and very wet sometime after 2pm while they were returning from Sutton Bluff. Awful.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 10:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

heartbreaking, beyond heartbreaking. when I first got into hiking, I read a lot and almost every book warns you that almost all hypothermia in history did not die when the temp was 10 or 20 or even 30; statistically almost all of them were out in temps of the 50s or even 60s and they get wet.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 1:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Hungry Jack @ Jan. 24 2013, 9:26 pm)
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- Reaching your turnaround point 9 miles in (the OTA reported distance from the Brushy Creek Lodge spur junction to Sutton Bluff) at 2pm, leaving only 3 hours to cover 9 miles with young children

He took his kids on an 18 mile dayhike?  I don't know any kids that would/could do that in good weather.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 4:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I know, something just doesn't add up.  He leaves at 10:30am and plans to return at 4:00pm and is going to hike 18 miles with a 10 and 8 year old -- and plans to average over 3 mph, which is a pretty good clip.  The mother told the authorities that they were experienced hikers and knew to hunker down, making it sound like they've done this before?!

I wonder if we'll ever know what really happened out there.  Very sad situation, indeed.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 5:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

All sorts of people like to say such and such is 'an experienced outdoorsman'. That is the most overused term in the book.  How many hunters have you known, never ever go out in the woods all year long,  until Sept 1st, the first day of rifle season, then go out one morning bag a deer and think of  themselves as 'experienced outdoorsmen'. please.
To me an experienced outdoorsman is someone who can sleep under a tarp in howling winds, find fire, and knows to be scared when its cold and will rain.  Knows how far to go and not to go. Knows what to bring and more importantly not bring. This is a terrible tragedy and thats all that can be said. my 2 cents
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 11:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WiscoHiker @ Jan. 25 2013, 4:24 pm)
QUOTE
I know, something just doesn't add up.  He leaves at 10:30am and plans to return at 4:00pm and is going to hike 18 miles with a 10 and 8 year old -- and plans to average over 3 mph, which is a pretty good clip.  The mother told the authorities that they were experienced hikers and knew to hunker down, making it sound like they've done this before?!

I wonder if we'll ever know what really happened out there.  Very sad situation, indeed.

We only have partial evidence from the reports, but it seems that we can assemble the following:

FACTS:
- The hike started at Brushy Creek TH. The spur connector to the OT is roughly 1 mile. The connector is at mile 90.5 on the OT section map
- The hike started around 10:30 am.
- They were seen by driver somewhere near Sutton Bluff at approximately 2pm, when they turned down a ride back to the TH
- Sutton Bluff is 9 miles south of the Brushy Creek connector
- Sunset on that day was 5:15pm

ASSUMPTIONS:
- They made it to Sutton Bluff by 2pm, and began their return leg
- They covered the 10 miles (9+1) to Sutton Bluff in 3-3.5 hours.
- To reach the connector spur by sunset, they would have to cover 9 miles in 3-3.5 hours
- They missed the connector trail to return to Brushy Creek somewhere around dark


We do not know exactly where they were found, but it seems very likely that it was somewhere between mile 90 and mile 88 of the OT.

If true, I find this doubly cruel, for the OT crosses a paved road (Hiway J) just north of mile 88, and just outside the small settlement of Black. This road leads back to Brushy Creek if you follow it about 3 miles east.

Following the trail north past the connector would soon take you on a noticeable descent into the valley of Hiway J. This could have been a signal to the group that they had passed their connector. This would require good awareness, especially in the dark.

Had they taken a chance and descended east from the ridge after missing their connector, they might have been funneled down into Reynolds Hollow, which leads directly to a small farm. I know this because I hiked the Middle Fork section to Brushy Creek, and turned too soon before reaching the cutoff approaching from the north. We ended up crossing this farm property in the valley and following the gravel drive over to Brushy Creek, with Hiway J just a 100 yards or so to our left. This was done in full daylight.

In sum, I think they were very, very close to Brushy Creek. We have no idea of the circumstances after dark with the weather, but had they somehow known that Hiway J was just off to the east and accessible by descending the ridge or the OT heading north, they would have reached the road, and might have been rescued.

Again, this is all conjecture based on what I listed above. It's plausible, but not necessarily the truth.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2013, 7:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am not familiar with the terrain, and I've never hiked with 10 and 8 year old kids, so I don't know if 10 miles in 3 - 3.5 hours is even possible.  I know a 3 mph clip in rough terrain is nearly impossible for all but the very best hikers, and this would be taking into assumption that they didn't stop for lunch or take any rest breaks.  If that's the case, in other words if that's the way they were hiking - fast and no breaks - it's also possible that they were dehydrated and not thinking clearly, which is a good explanation as to why he'd put his kids in harm's way like that.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2013, 10:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

10 miles in 3 hours is not unreasonable for a fit adult hiker on that terrain. The Ozarks are hilly, but I would not consider the climbs to be particularly tough (compared to what you might find out west, or even on parts of Isle Royale, Trap Hills, etc.). I am pretty familiar with the Ozark Trail and I think the tread is very good in most places--smooth, wide, and generally free of loose rock (some exceptions exist, like the Taum Sauk trail near Wildcat Mtn and Taum Sauk).

I have no idea what pace and distance a 8-10 year old is capable of.  I know of a 7 year old that summitted Mt. Lincoln, a Colorado 14er on a route that climbs about 2,500 ft up an old mining road (my 79 year old father did this too).

But 18 miles--if that is indeed the distance they attempted to cover in going from Brushy Creek to Sutton Bluff and back--is a long day for pretty much any hiker anywhere. That hike would leave me tired.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 31 2013, 12:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well, I learned that the bodies were found just off the OT about a mile north of the spur that connects to the Brushy Creek Lodge. They obviously missed the turnoff in the dark, and wandered a bit down the trail.

As I mentioned before, a strong awareness of the location could have created the possibility of self-rescue. Basically any descent to the right (facing northbound route) would drop you into the valley. The creek likely would have been impassable (based on reports), but they could have come across the farm adjacent to Brushy Creek Lodge (as my father and I did) or perhaps within sight of Hiway J (visible with traffic).

But the extreme wet cold and fatigue would be very hard to overcome after a long day and then hiking the last half in cold rain. I honestly wish I had been on the trail with them on their way back. I wish I could have helped them.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 8:41 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sadly, this can even happen to the experienced and not just someone from Anchorage who goes for a drive to the wilderness wearing sneakers and runs out of gas.

I heard that to die from the cold is not so painful? Like going back to sleep once you've passed the threshold of feeling numb.

Condolences.


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