Four young male hikers set out over the weekend to hike 71 miles of the Appalachian Trail, beginning at Fontana Lake in North Carolina. However, late-winter weather, especially at higher altitudes, is a fickle entity. What started out as a pleasant weekend quickly turned to a miserable driving rain and finally eight inches of snow.
The young men, ages 18-20, had not packed for the cold weather and found themselves stranded in the Great Smoky Mountains, fighting the onset of hypothermia. One of the men was slurring his speech and vomiting.
Luckily, another group of six backpackers found the foursome. The group split, leaving four with the sick men and sending two to find help. By Wednesday morning the National Park Service had dispatched several rangers to complete the rescue, even putting an emergency helicopter on standby.
All outdoorsmen need to follow certain protocol if they find themselves in a dangerous situation outdoors. Here are a few great stories from OUTDOOR LIFE that provide great information.
How to Survive at 30 Below
Whether you’re in the Alaskan Outback or the woods near home, don’t let winter’s worst weather blindside you.
Stay protected (even cozy) when you’re caught out overnight.
Ultimate Survival Gear
Life-saving gadgets from bear bombs to blood-clotting powder.
Go High But Stay Alive
Know the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness.
Pick the Best Sleeping Bag
It means more than just a good night’s rest.
Follow these steps to make the most of a survival fire.