View Full Version : My good deed for the day and causionary tale

10-24-2012, 10:37
About 11 PM last night I get a call from my friend who owns the motel up the road from me. Seems a hiker had just shown up at the front door and was looking for someone to give him a ride back to his car, which was up at the top of the Jefferson notch road. She called me as I'm about the only one around who would be willing to do such a thing and still be up at that time of night. Okay, I'm willing and although a strange mission, I'll find out the details of why when I get there.

It turns out the hiker was a day hiker who had gone up the Caps Ridge trail to the summit of Mt Jefferson. The problem was, he left the parking lot at about 2 PM, which even in good conditions would be a bit marginal to get to the summit and back before dark this time of year. But when he got above tree line, he ran into snow and ice which slowed him down a lot. He said once he broke out above tree line, it was like a whole different world up there. Yep, sure is.

Anyway, he finally gets to the summit, looses the trail, then finds a trial, but this one is the Castle trail, which goes down a different ridge then the one he came up on and which eventually comes out to the highway, pretty much miles from anything. Then once at the highway, it took him a while to get a ride standing on the side of that dark and desolute road, as the temps started to dip towards freezing.

This story could well have had a different ending if he hadn't had a headlamp and had ended up on a different trail (it's a real maze up there) which might have lead him into the Great Gulf instead of down to the highway. I didn't ask if he had a map with him, but I suspect not.

So, that was my good deed for the day and only asked that he pay it forward if and when he got the chance. I finally got back home just after midnight. Driving up and down the Jefferson Notch road, a narrow, twisty dirt road, in the dark, is really slow.

Train Wreck
10-24-2012, 11:05
A sobering story. This guy obviously had an angel on his shoulder! Good thing it worked out with no one getting hurt.

gizzy bear
10-24-2012, 11:12
that is way cool....i am sure he will pay it forward!! nice to hear :) (and you didn't even call him out for his judgement....even cooler!!! )

10-24-2012, 11:17
Hope he pays it forward, I certainly would.

10-24-2012, 11:18
Wow, he was a lucky guy.....and also I agree with gizzy that you didn't post an attack on his judgements.

10-24-2012, 11:23
Oh yeah.. WTG- Slo-go'en. Your story is incredible and feels like a breath of fresh air!! :)

10-24-2012, 12:25
Yep, definitely gets you a gold star and an 'attaboy'.

He should be grounded to his room for a week with no TV.

Jack Tarlin
10-24-2012, 12:39
Very instructive story, especially for the folks who come here continually to tell people that "You don't need maps on popular well-known trails." This guy could have easily died.

10-24-2012, 13:11
missed it by *that* much... 5mi round trip from 2pm.. ehh doable if fast but still tight. 5ish mi walkout down the castle trail instead of 2.5 back to the car had to suck.

karma points for you

Creek Dancer
10-24-2012, 14:33
Hugs to you, Slo-go'en. :) Thanks for helping this guy out.

Don H
10-24-2012, 14:36
Could have been another one of those "hunter find body near the AT" stories.
Very lucky. Hope he thanked you.

10-24-2012, 14:54
Great story
- hats off to you for your help to somebody in need
- good outcome
- reaffirms my own hiking experiences where there are a lot of super people doing great things for one other
- counterbalances cynicism and focus on the negative where the volume is louder

Thank you!

10-24-2012, 15:05
A series of poor judgment calls that fortunately did not end tragically. That is no place to start late, take a wrong turn, or not bother carrying a map.

10-24-2012, 15:45
To make the story even more interesting, I found out today from my friend who owns the motel that he had a cell phone and used it to call someone while still on the mountain and tell them he had gotten lost and would call back when he made his way out. Unfortunately, his battery then died and couldn't call back. Plus, he didn't have the number written down on him someplace, so with the phone dead he didn't know it. The charger was back in the car, where fortunately he had the number written down.

Thankfully, I thought to bring my cell phone, which I don't normally carry. So, when we got back to his car and he could find the number, he was able to call that person back and say he was alright. Had that not happened, there might have been a needless S+R effort mounted if that person (his parents I belive) got worried that they didn't hear back and couldn't reach him on the phone. He would have been really embaressed had that happened!

10-24-2012, 15:54
How does a day hiker drain his cell battery to dead? Some folks just shouldn't go to the woods.

10-24-2012, 16:29
How does a day hiker drain his cell battery to dead? Some folks just shouldn't go to the woods.

Good question. Maybe he was using the phone as the flashlight? I just assumed he had a headlamp, but I could be mistaken about that. I do know the charger was an AC one, not a mobile one, so he might not have been aware the battery was almost dead when he left.

10-24-2012, 18:02
Good job slo.
im re-reading not without peril.
you should submit your story to appalachia.

10-26-2012, 20:28
Nice story Slo, this one shows how even on a nice short walk you need to be prepared. Good thing the guy had a headlamp with him it could have been a long cold night on the side of a mountain. Asking him to pay it forward was good, something else for us all to remember. Thanks!!

Mountain Mike
10-26-2012, 20:41
Kudos to you for a good deed.

As for cell phone going dead that area doesn't have many carriers so those with other services often have their phones searching for their network while roaming which burns up batteries. Years ago a bunch of us piled into a Suv for a ride on auto road to summit of Mt Washington. It broke down on return to base only two of us could ride in tow truck to Berlin to fix it. Of the four people left behind all of their cells had died due to roaming. I was only one left with a working phone because I had left it turned off.