THE SONIC BOOMER
Did you hear about the woman who went hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains, got injured and was out there for nine days before they found her? Wow.
Miyuki Harwood, 62, got separated from her group, then fell and broke her leg. She crawled for two days until she reached a creek. Then, as any knowledgeable hiker would, opened up her knapsack to get at her special water-filtering bottle. Even though search parties were hampered by wildfires, she was eventually found, thanks to the frequent use of her emergency whistle. She is now in the hospital, where her bones have been set and she is requesting “uninterrupted rest and quiet.”
Now let’s put ourselves in that situation.
Specifically, what if it was me?
“Hey, Deb, want to go hiking? I know this remote section of the Sierra Nevadas. We really ought to see it before it burns up.”
“OK. Wait a minute while I throw a few things into a knapsack.”
I pack my essentials, and we’re off. Half a day into the hike, I think I spot Sasquatch and veer off the path to follow him. I don’t tell anyone I’m going because I want the full glory of the press all to myself. But within a few minutes, I lose sight of the hairy beast when a bird poops on my head. I look up to yell at the bird, trip over a log and break my leg on a rock. Damn, that smarts.
I take out my cell phone to call for help, but I used up the battery playing Candy Crush on the ride over. I’d blow my emergency whistle, but I can’t breathe because of the wildfires. Plus, I didn’t bring a whistle — I brought a whistle pop, a little red sucker that would make a sound… if I hadn’t already bitten off the end of it. Tasted good, though. I finish that up.
But the sucker made me thirsty. I drag myself to the creek, but I don’t have anything to put water in. I would’ve brought a bottle, but I needed the room in my knapsack for a giant bag of potato chips and my legal pad (since I may write a book someday). Musing, I eat the whole bag of chips, which makes me thirstier than ever. I reluctantly tear off a sheet of paper and fold it until I have an origami cup. The cup looks awesome, so I take out the legal pad and make a note about how clever I am.
I dip the cup into the creek, but I’m afraid to drink the water because I think I see microscopic amoeba in there. And some flesh-eating bacteria. And a twig. I eat the cup instead. It isn’t as good as the potato chips and, frankly, does nothing to stave off my thirst.
By day two, I have eaten everything out of my knapsack, even the fuzzy peppermints that were in the bottom since my last hike. But I’m still hungry. I eat up all the foliage I can reach and even sample a bug. Yuck. No way.
By day three, the bugs are starting to look pretty good, but I decide I’d rather be rescued. So I make an origami whistle. Looks cool. No sound. I make a note of this on my legal pad.
By day eight, I have used up my entire legal pad making a list of curse words that describe the rescue party. I hear them tramping around out there, but they are mostly talking among themselves instead of listening for my shouts. I see a helicopter overhead, and that makes me wish I hadn’t taken the signal flare out of my knapsack to make room for that hair dryer.
When they finally find me and take me to the hospital, dehydrated and emaciated (but with nice hair), here’s what I do not want — uninterrupted rest and quiet. I’ve had enough of that.