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  1. #41
    Registered User Dr. Professor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R1TenderFoot View Post
    Does it strike anyone as "odd" that an experienced backpacker, with (I assume) shelter, sleeping bag, clothing and water treatment capabilities would die of exposure so close to the trail? Even if she did not have food, her body was found close to water, she should have been able to live for a month or so. What am I missing?
    I've always suspected that a stroke played a roll. At her age, it makes a lot of sense. Even a transient ischemic attack (a small temporary stroke) could easily cause enough confusion to get off trail, under-geared, and hypothermic. A coroner wouldn't be able to detect such an insult either.

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Professor View Post
    I've always suspected that a stroke played a roll. At her age, it makes a lot of sense. Even a transient ischemic attack (a small temporary stroke) could easily cause enough confusion to get off trail, under-geared, and hypothermic. A coroner wouldn't be able to detect such an insult either.
    Whats insulting is One Hundred Plus pages of speculation.

  3. #43
    Registered User Dr. Professor's Avatar
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    We speculate because sometimes knowing what's happened to others is the only thing that protects us from a similar fate.

  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Professor View Post
    We speculate because sometimes knowing what's happened to others is the only thing that protects us from a similar fate.
    All the more reason to disregard the fiction for the fact, it's been a real challenge to follow the thread because of all the meandering fiction and then arguing over points that are mute due to speculation.

  5. #45
    Registered User Dr. Professor's Avatar
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    I intend this to be my last reply as this segue really is derailing the thread --

    A) You don't know my postulation to be fiction; I consider it to be among the most likely explanations.

    B) It's only a moot point with regard to our paying our respects. In many ways, it is unfortunate that it is difficult to parse out paying respects from attempts to learn. With regard to learning from this unfortunate event, considering what (if anything) one might do in the event of a medical emergency such as a stroke is important -- particularly for an older hiker.

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Professor View Post
    I intend this to be my last reply as this segue really is derailing the thread --

    A) You don't know my postulation to be fiction; I consider it to be among the most likely explanations.

    B) It's only a moot point with regard to our paying our respects. In many ways, it is unfortunate that it is difficult to parse out paying respects from attempts to learn. With regard to learning from this unfortunate event, considering what (if anything) one might do in the event of a medical emergency such as a stroke is important -- particularly for an older hiker.
    Well according to many here, there is nothing you can do when this happens, not even the simplist of things like eat or drink, or crawl into a bag. But the truth is we just don't know, we may never know, all the postulation in the world won't change that fact.

  7. #47
    Registered User Different Socks's Avatar
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    Pardon me for asking this, but unless you are hiking at night, how the heck do you lose the AT?

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Different Socks View Post
    Pardon me for asking this, but unless you are hiking at night, how the heck do you lose the AT?
    Have you ever hiked the AT

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Different Socks View Post
    Pardon me for asking this, but unless you are hiking at night, how the heck do you lose the AT?
    You get in a daze following the footpath, don't look for blazes enough because the trail is so apparent, then all of a sudden you don't see any white blazes. It's pretty easy to follow a false trail if you aren't paying attention. Sometimes you wind up on another trail, and other times a false trail just fizzles out. You then backtrack. To avoid this it helps of course to find the next blaze when passing one, to look backwards for a blaze in the opposite direction if you haven't seen a blaze in a while, and at trail intersections etc. Places that are easy to lose the trail include stream crossings, road crossings, trail intersections, places the trail follows rocks and water flows, above treeline sections especially in fog, hiking at night as you noted, etc. Sometimes people get lost going for water, answering nature's call, camping off trail, etc. They just get disoriented. Once you're in the woods, all the trees pretty much look the same in every direction.

  10. #50
    Registered User vamelungeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    You get in a daze following the footpath, don't look for blazes enough because the trail is so apparent, then all of a sudden you don't see any white blazes. It's pretty easy to follow a false trail if you aren't paying attention. Sometimes you wind up on another trail, and other times a false trail just fizzles out. You then backtrack. To avoid this it helps of course to find the next blaze when passing one, to look backwards for a blaze in the opposite direction if you haven't seen a blaze in a while, and at trail intersections etc. Places that are easy to lose the trail include stream crossings, road crossings, trail intersections, places the trail follows rocks and water flows, above treeline sections especially in fog, hiking at night as you noted, etc. Sometimes people get lost going for water, answering nature's call, camping off trail, etc. They just get disoriented. Once you're in the woods, all the trees pretty much look the same in every direction.
    This. Always stop and look at your back trail in case you need to go in that direction. Some people have a great sense of direction and location, and some seem to have none. It's easy for them to get turned around. "Experienced hiker" doesn't mean a lot. Experienced at off trail hiking, or just following blazes and sleeping in shelters? Lots of miles on the AT does not equal having any woodcraft skills.
    "You're a nearsighted, bitter old fool."

  11. #51
    Registered User Different Socks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedaling Fool View Post
    Have you ever hiked the AT
    Yes, the whole thing.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Different Socks View Post
    Pardon me for asking this, but unless you are hiking at night, how the heck do you lose the AT?

    well, as one possibility, you come to a poorly marked trail junction which is also at a stream crossing. there are technically 4 directions you can go from this point, but the map (if you have one, we all seem to think she didn't, but who knows) you have only shows 3. out of the 4 ways you can go, the biggest and most obvious and most easy and arguably most "correct" one is the one not on the map and is one west instead of north. the way north is maybe not marked so well and is across the stream, so without paying too much attention you head west on the path thats not on your map. then once you realize youve amde a mistake you make some questionable choices because you're in a time crunch and don't want to backpedal.

    the authorities seem to think she negotiated said point just fine (how they know this is a mystery) but she was very near just such a spot when she lost the trail.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Different Socks View Post
    Pardon me for asking this, but unless you are hiking at night, how the heck do you lose the AT?
    Give the location of where she was found relative to where the trail was, the first thing that came across my mind was that she might have wondered off into the woods to take care of some "business", but then got turned around and rather than heading back towards the trail she went deeper into the woods away from the trail.

  14. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Different Socks View Post
    Pardon me for asking this, but unless you are hiking at night, how the heck do you lose the AT?
    Its not hard to do when you are tired, hot, thirsty, hungry, or having problems with vision or balance. Head down, keeping one foot in front of the other, its not hard to be climbing a brook bed in the trail and have the trail turn without seeing it, as the brook bed continues on with you in tow.

  15. #55
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    In southern PA, I lost the trail and walked about half a mile on what was probably a hunting trail (not marked on my maps). I didn't see blazes for a while and then backtracked and got back on trail. It can happen.

  16. #56
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    Deepest sympathy to the family. The Lords working is not always going to be understandable to we human beings.

  17. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    In southern PA, I lost the trail and walked about half a mile on what was probably a hunting trail (not marked on my maps). I didn't see blazes for a while and then backtracked and got back on trail. It can happen.

    +
    Yes

    Normal people are following some trail, or distinguishing feature mistaken for trail, and can backtrack on it. They dont go bushwhacking. Especially once they know they are off trail.

    Taking a wrong turn alone will not result in this result, which is why it hasnt happened before. Getting lost this way typically takes a chain of events, not a singular mistake.

    I imagine they know her location relative to distinguishing features, because if lost she may have tried to send a text saying so. A phone will keep waiting for signal to send a text, so with weak signal that makes perfect sense., or she could have taken photos of things too. Doesnt need to be gps location data, she would have had no reason to have it on without a background map, it would only eat battery. Or maybe she tried to use google to find it didnt work without connection.

    Without signal, and lost, many would head uphill to try to get signal. Many would start a forest fire. Many would stay put and not stray farther from trail if they expected someone to miss them.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 11-07-2015 at 10:21.

  18. #58

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    I'm always losing the trail, I mean always! I was in a daze one time in Pennsylvania and found myself thinking I was off the trail, but then I saw one of them AT boundary markers (which should have been a clue I was off the trail), but I went back into my day dreaming mode, then all of a sudden I come up to an abandoned farm house, with a locked gate (yes, I was locked in), next to the road. Luckily I was able to find the road on my AT map and I charted out a course to intersect the trail, so I yellow blazed it from that point back to the trail.

    My hatred of backtracking is why I will never be a true thru-hiker

  19. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedaling Fool View Post
    My hatred of backtracking is why I will never be a true thru-hiker
    You, Earl Schaffer, and grandma Gatewood, so your in good company.
    Although they probably did better on subsequent hikes than their first.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 11-07-2015 at 12:03.

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