PDA

View Full Version : Virginia teen dies in fall along the AT in northern VA



Fannypack
06-01-2005, 12:51
I could be wrong but it appears that this accident happened at Raven Rocks (just north of Bear Den near the MCI tower) - see article below from May 31, 2005 in the Winchester (VA) Star- Fannypack

Berryville Teen Dies in Fall from High Rock Cliff By Stephanie M. Mangino
The Winchester Star

BERRYVILLE — An 18-year-old from Berryville died over the holiday weekend after falling 75 feet as he and friends camped along the Appalachian Trail.

Michael Baldoni sustained severe head trauma from the accident on Raven’s Rock Road in Jefferson County, W.Va., said West Virginia State Trooper C.D. Kuhn, who investigated the incident.

It appears the fall, which occurred sometime between 4 and 4:30 a.m. Saturday, was accidental, Kuhn said.

Baldoni appears to have fallen as he and several of his friends moved from a high rock cliff toward their campfire, Kuhn said.

Baldoni was reportedly sitting on the edge of the cliff, Kuhn said.

Fire, rescue, and police crews from throughout the region responded to assist Baldoni, Kuhn said.

Enders, Blue Ridge, and Mt. Weather volunteer fire and rescue companies from Clarke County came to the scene, as did Loudoun County units, the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, and the Maryland State Police, according to Kuhn and Clarke County emergency services dispatch.

Baldoni was lifted from the bottom of the rock cliff by a Maryland State Police helicopter, which transported the young man to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax County, where he was pronounced dead, Kuhn said.

The Fairfax County medical examiner advised that cause of death was severe head trauma, Kuhn added.

Crazy Larry #1
06-01-2005, 12:56
my prayers are with the family and many friends that this young adventurer had to have had..............

Mini-Mosey
06-01-2005, 16:44
There was an article in the Frederick News-Post about rescuers from this area being called to help rescue a camper who had fallen 100 feet near Bluemont, Va. Naturally I wondered if it was a camper on the AT. I imagine this is the one about which the article was talking. What a tragedy.

Happypappy
06-01-2005, 16:57
I am sorry to hear this. It is always a shame when someone so young dies.

Moon Monster
06-02-2005, 11:04
Even some of the newspapers appear to be asking why he was out so early and the authorities are investigating this question. Also, the June 1 articles are reporting the time as 5:30 a.m. which is in twilight--sunrise up there was probably only 10-20 minutes away. And, the location was indeed reported as Raven Rocks.

http://www.herald-mail.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=114117&format=html

d'shadow
06-02-2005, 14:40
I have spent many mornings, pre-dawn sitting on a rocky outcrop awaiting a sunrise and the vista the morning sun will bring.

Sandy B
06-02-2005, 17:37
It is always hard for me to read things like this, having kids of my own in that age group and having sailors that work for me that still believe that nothing bad will happen them.
My prayers go out to the family.
Sandy

weary
06-02-2005, 21:36
My prayers go out to the family.
Sandy
I'm not much into praying, but if I were I would certainly think of the family. My kids are all middle-aged. But I still worry about them 24-7. I can't think of a bigger personal tragedy than the death of a child, that one has raised from infancy.

Weary

Lone Wolf
06-03-2005, 09:58
You are a good man Weary.

Mini-Mosey
06-03-2005, 15:10
Apparently, he was camping up near there somewhere.

Whenever I see photos of hikers standing on McAfee Knob(or Cliff), especially with big backpacks on, I get chills!!!!!

c.coyle
06-03-2005, 21:34
... Whenever I see photos of hikers standing on McAfee Knob(or Cliff), especially with big backpacks on, I get chills!!!!!

I've always wondered about that. Those photos look scary, but if you fall off McAfee Knob, how far do you really fall? Do the photos make it look worse than it really is?

Moon Monster
06-03-2005, 22:31
I've always wondered about that. Those photos look scary, but if you fall off McAfee Knob, how far do you really fall? Do the photos make it look worse than it really is?

I think the fall would be pretty bad. But, the fin of rock is wider in the plane perpindicular to the photo than you could possibly tell from the shot, so it's not tough to stand there. Same with Dragon's Tooth, which is much deeper than you could tell from the normal vantage point of photos.

Brown
08-02-2005, 21:13
Does it really matter at this point how it happened and what was involved. If you don't know a person then don't judge them. All that should matter at this point is that a person passed away leaving grieving family and friends who now become even more hurt when reading comments like some of the ones posted here. So as a person who knows the friends of this young man, screw you all for those comments. Thanks to people like you it makes the grieving process even harder for those involved. This was a good person and doesn't deserve to have all these people saying things about him and putting s*** on who he really was...............Friend of Michael Baldoni

Frolicking Dinosaurs
08-02-2005, 21:38
{{{ Brown }}} Terribly sorry for your loss. Glad you came here to set the record straight regarding the circumstances around your friend's passing.

The death of someone so young is a tragedy regardless of the circumstances - doubly so if alcohol / drugs are involved because everyone has to wonder if it would have happened if the person hadn't been impaired. A friend died at 18 and my best friend has lived with severe brain damage for decades due to a drunken evening they spent on Sunset Rock in the Chattanooga, TN area. It kept me from considering going near cliffs and overlooks while partying back in the day.

attroll
08-03-2005, 01:07
Brown

I am sorry for the lose of your friend also. It is hard to keep people from posting and passing judgement. No matter what there is always someone who has to stir the pot and say something wise or assinine. But if the shoe was put on the other foot that person would understand. But I am not wishing this on anyone. I am sorry the thread had to turn negitive and disruptive. I wish I could take everything back that others have said. But I can not. I have lost someone close before and for people that have never lost one close they will never know what this kind of posting does to someone.

I wish you the best. I know that this will never be enough. I am sorry.

Mini-Mosey
08-03-2005, 20:12
I second what Attroll said, and I hope any comments I made didn't add to your pain.


I see you're from Shepherdstown. I lived there for many years.

diogenes
08-03-2005, 20:18
Lets not jump to conclusions, here. A young man is dead. Lets not speculate on the circumstances surrounding this accident until we have some facts. High School kinds have also been known to sit up and talk all night without substance abuse.yea we do that (im 17)

Bolo
08-04-2005, 12:06
Brown,
I'm so very sorry about the death of your friend and apologize for the negative comments about the possible circumstances. Please know that all of us on this website are sorry and extend our sympathy to his family and friends.

-Bolo

Air Head
08-04-2005, 12:34
::sigh:: Death is a very fascinating subject. I spent 4 years of my life as an Emergency Medical Technician. I've seen a wide range of injuries, and had my share of deaths. One of my first calls at one of the towns I worked for was the death of one of the members' father.

It hurts. Even when you're not directly related. But at the same time, it fascinates you. Draws you in... Makes you think.

In some cases, thinking's a bad thing. Sometimes it's fun to speculate on why things are. God only knows I've spent a couple of nights wondering why I chose to drive 120 down a highway one night, get pulled over, and find out not only was I speeding, but operating an unregistered vehicle. Oyi. That went well with my parents.

But it's the same thing with death. How'd he die? Was it an accident? Was he drinking? Was he out with a bunch of friends, just talking about how much life lay ahead of them?

Regardless, think these thoughts to yourself, and certainly not in a public forum. The exchange of ideas is amazing -- and highly encouraged -- but remember, drunk or not, death hits hard. Michael Baldoni was an 18 year old child... someone's son... someone's legacy... Someone's flesh-and-blood realization that they'd taken on the responsibility of raising a child in this sometimes dark and cruel world and by God, they would do everything they could to keep his life as bright as possible... and now, his unique light has been put out for reasons we can only hope to understand.

As people who are fascinated and captivated by nature (who else would want to brave 2180 miles of it if they didn't love it?), I would think you all would realize that it is unbelievably fragile, and that, though as flawed as some of us humans are, we are still part of nature, and deserve as much respect -- both in life and in death -- as we would give to the Trail and its inhabitants.

Brown, my sympathies go out to you, Michael's family, and his friends.

SGT Rock
08-04-2005, 14:31
Regardless, think these thoughts to yourself, and certainly not in a public forum.Disagree.

If it were my child (or my brother) I would prefer others understand what went wrong and how to avoid it. To state that discussing it is a bad thing - is a bad thing.

rickb
08-04-2005, 15:33
I agree with Sgt Rock.

Air Head
08-05-2005, 00:09
Duly noted, gents. Perhaps I said it wrong. I mean, If you go about it tactfully, then yeah, by all means, discuss away. things started getting a bit out of hand in this post. ::shrug::

PS: Hey Rock, ever though about doing the trail with night vision goggles? : )

SGT Rock
08-05-2005, 08:18
I've thought of it.

Rain Man
08-05-2005, 09:00
I agree with SGT Rock.

Perhaps ALL posts except the original article should be thrown out and the thread should be closed.

Rain Man

.

dream
08-05-2005, 09:30
PS: Hey Rock, ever though about doing the trail with night vision goggles? : ) I spent some time (TDY) at the Ranger camp at Dahlonega Ga. When we were down there and we had some down time we used to ride our mountain bikes on the forest roads at night with NVG's on. It was pretty hilarious. and some good training.

SGT Rock
08-05-2005, 10:38
My first assignment was driver of an M113 in the Scout Platoon of an Infantry Battalion. We used AN/PVS-5s as our night vision. I could tell you some stories. I had a few close calls with death doing it.

dream
08-05-2005, 11:52
those 5's sucked I remember them. We called them Opera glasses because you had to hold them up to your face. the head harness strap was just torture. They used to have a fake leather pad that went against your face. When I was a private I used smear kiwi on my plt sgts Nods he had a big goofy ring around his face all night. You can also do this with the toilet seat in the Co's bathroom provided it's black as well. This doesn't go over so good though!

Footslogger
08-05-2005, 12:07
those 5's sucked I remember them. We called them Opera glasses because you had to hold them up to your face. the head harness strap was just torture. They used to have a fake leather pad that went against your face. When I was a private I used smear kiwi on my plt sgts Nods he had a big goofy ring around his face all night. You can also do this with the toilet seat in the Co's bathroom provided it's black as well. This doesn't go over so good though!===================================
Sounds like not much has changed since I as in ('68 - '71). Still pullin pranks on the officers. Course ...we didn't have many of the newer toys. We did have the twilight scopes though.

'Slogger

Nean
08-05-2005, 12:54
I'm all for open discussion but shouldn't we consider time and place? Ambulance chasing folks throwing out what ifs and salvating for details before these youngsters are even buried doesn't seem to be the right time. On a public forum with friends and family on the thread in grieve mode doesn't seem the place. Let them grieve and RIP for awhile before we pick apart the details and save the world. Would that be asking too much?

SGT Rock
08-05-2005, 16:30
I'm all for open discussion but shouldn't we consider time and place? Ambulance chasing folks throwing out what ifs and salvating for details before these youngsters are even buried doesn't seem to be the right time. On a public forum with friends and family on the thread in grieve mode doesn't seem the place. Let them grieve and RIP for awhile before we pick apart the details and save the world. Would that be asking too much?
So how do we determine the time and place. By the logic used, there will never be a time or place. Remember the Saved fiasco? Months after the last post, some of his friends logged on and got bent out of shape by what someone wrote about him. At what point does it become OK to discuss what happened and someone will sit down and not get bent out of shape when it turns out that something stupid or not stupid is the cause?

And we are not ambulance chasing folks! Geez! I totally resent the implication that speaking about what happened is intended as ambulance chasing and is disrespectful. We are hikers who have an interest in what happens in the community good or bad. We are people that do want to know what happened. We want to feel for the family, but a what if is not disrespect it is honest analysis. There may be some that say some stupid things in the discussion, but do we decide not to talk about it because someone might say something stupid ahead of time. If we want that sort of pre-censorship we may as well stop having a forum because someone says something stupid weekly about guns, dogs, religion, politics, etc. Heck some people never post here again over fights about filtering water.

I've dealt with accidents and accident reports for years now and have found that sticking one's head in the sand for whatever reason is more disrespectful to the hard price someone has paid and often does not ever quell the talk, but only makes it stronger, louder and more uninformed. The actions of censorship will only make speculation worse. You want to prevent gossip and rumors you meet them head on with information.

And yes, I think it is asking too much for many reasons. Next time one of you find yourself inadvertently offending someone over something like religion, politics, tree hugging, vegan ism, whatever and they campaign to get the posts deleted, the argument may rightly include this instance of how we have censored posts in the past. Up until now posts have been deleted when they are about one or two things: threats against one another and when the post were blatantly designed only to offend - usually on the grounds of race.

And yes, I am finally getting mad about this. It isn't enough that the posts were deleted. It isn't enough that people die in various ways - sometimes with obvious incompetence by others as the cause - and some want to equate it as "**** happens". But now we have people gloating over the fact that this is becoming policy here.

Dances with Mice
08-05-2005, 20:09
...wrote a whole buncha stuff right on target....

Agreed. And I agree so much that I'll put $ where my mouth is. Or fingers are. Whatever. Put my name in the August sponsor block.

Because free speach may be priceless but it doesn't mean nobody has to pay for it.

Heater
08-06-2005, 01:01
So how do we determine the time and place. By the logic used, there will never be a time or place. Remember the Saved fiasco? Months after the last post, some of his friends logged on and got bent out of shape by what someone wrote about him. At what point does it become OK to discuss what happened and someone will sit down and not get bent out of shape when it turns out that something stupid or not stupid is the cause?

And we are not ambulance chasing folks! Geez! I totally resent the implication that speaking about what happened is intended as ambulance chasing and is disrespectful. We are hikers who have an interest in what happens in the community good or bad. We are people that do want to know what happened. We want to feel for the family, but a what if is not disrespect it is honest analysis. There may be some that say some stupid things in the discussion, but do we decide not to talk about it because someone might say something stupid ahead of time. If we want that sort of pre-censorship we may as well stop having a forum because someone says something stupid weekly about guns, dogs, religion, politics, etc. Heck some people never post here again over fights about filtering water.

I've dealt with accidents and accident reports for years now and have found that sticking one's head in the sand for whatever reason is more disrespectful to the hard price someone has paid and often does not ever quell the talk, but only makes it stronger, louder and more uninformed. The actions of censorship will only make speculation worse. You want to prevent gossip and rumors you meet them head on with information.

And yes, I think it is asking too much for many reasons. Next time one of you find yourself inadvertently offending someone over something like religion, politics, tree hugging, vegan ism, whatever and they campaign to get the posts deleted, the argument may rightly include this instance of how we have censored posts in the past. Up until now posts have been deleted when they are about one or two things: threats against one another and when the post were blatantly designed only to offend - usually on the grounds of race.

And yes, I am finally getting mad about this. It isn't enough that the posts were deleted. It isn't enough that people die in various ways - sometimes with obvious incompetence by others as the cause - and some want to equate it as "**** happens". But now we have people gloating over the fact that this is becoming policy here.
Thank you Sgt. Rock. A ray of sunshine! :sun Though I don't thing Sgt. Sunshine would go over too well...

I will be PMing you in next couple of days with some things that I am concerned with and I hope you will respond with the same honesty that you have shown in this last post of your's and in the past. You are a straight up no BS type that I can respect. I will look forward to your POV on these matters.

SGT Rock
08-06-2005, 01:05
Thank you Sgt. Rock. A ray of sunshine! :sun Though I don't thing Sgt. Sunshine would go over too well...

I will be PMing you in next couple of days with some things that I am concerned with and I hope you will respond with the same honesty that you have shown in this last post of your's and in the past. You are a straight up no BS type that I can respect. I will look forward to your POV on these matters.
No problem. I always try to call it as I see it. And, I also have the balls to admit when I am wrong if I can be convinced of it.

Anyway, I think I am going to take a break from the Internet here soon, things are starting to wear on me. A good hike ought to clear the cobwebs. So if I don't respond right away, I'm not blowing you off.

Heater
08-06-2005, 01:32
No problem. I always try to call it as I see it. And, I also have the balls to admit when I am wrong if I can be convinced of it.

Without knowing it, you just hit on one of the reasons I wanted to PM you.



Anyway, I think I am going to take a break from the Internet here soon, things are starting to wear on me. A good hike ought to clear the cobwebs. So if I don't respond right away, I'm not blowing you off.
I just did one of those. Have a good breather and I'll talk to you when you get back.

Nean
08-06-2005, 02:52
Sorry to offend SGT Rock, maybe I should of said hearse chasers. Why? because these kids aren't buried yet before the speculation and what ifs start. [BTW, that statement only applies to those who speculated/salivated, I didn't think you were part off that group SGT Rock?] Yes it is human nature and we all know- inquiring minds want to know. Might save a life with that information? This discussion may have gotten to general. Which post were deleted that were of value? Examples are a wonderful thing. I don't think anyone is saying blanket censorship is a good idea/wanted/needed. Some folks don't think or don't care before they type and write things that hurt, not help. Censor negative speculation when we lose one of our own until the facts come out? I'll consider it part of the Patriot Act.

Time and place? How 'bout when the facts come out (time); you post the thread, here (place), saying how, why and what we can learn from this. I think we all trust your judgment SGT Rock. Respect for the grieving, Facts for discussion, which hopefully eliminates negative speculation. Fair? Doable? Neverland?

Enjoy your break as you have earned it many times over!

SGT Rock
08-06-2005, 09:03
I split off a copy of this discussion to a new thread. If you would like to talk about the last subject discussed please look for that thread.

smigocki
09-01-2005, 17:22
I found this site and thread when I was searching for items on Michael's death. It was a tragic accident that could have happened to any of 25+ young people that night. It was a freak mistake, how many of us have "stood too close to the edge" in life? Michael simply slipped while waiting for one of his cherished sunrises.

What I have learned from my son, now that he is gone, is that he loved the outdoors, was a "mountain rat", because he felt alive there, a place where all the problems of his world were non-existent. It was where he "cleared his mind" as he would tell me before and after the accident. You see Michael was a writer, a poet, an accomplished gutair player. Through his music and lyrics, I have learned much about my son. I only wished I had learned it before his death. Michael lived a full 18 years of life and meant so much to his friends and family. His youngest cousin said, "Who will play with us?" when she heard he had passed. And his closest friends were lost.

Its been 3 months now and it still hurts like hell, and I miss him everyday. My message to all parents that read this reply, is to hug your kids, because you never know when it will be your last. My son was 18 years old, and the last thing he said to me before leaving for that night, was "Don't worry Mom, we are careful, and it's my mountain." I hugged him that evening for the last time.

Young people that read this message, please understand that we try to understand your needs as parents, but we don't always do the best. If you take away anything from my words, is always hug your parents. Don't give up on life because of a loss of a friend, but instead honor that friend by doing the best you can do in life.

That is what we are trying to do.

Michael's Mom - Debbie Smigocki