April 6, 2013

Hikers Lost in the Cleveland National Forest

Holy Jim Falls
Proper planning prevents piss poor performance...and getting lost in the woods and almost dying.  That being said, if you are going to hike Holy Jim Trail in Trabuco Canyon and you are an 18 and 19 year old athlete and your name is Kyndall Jack and Nicholas Cendoya, is planning even necessary?  Does one have to plan properly for a walk in the park?

Holy Jim Trail is a 2.8 mile round trip hike with a 650 foot elevation gain.  For those of you who do not know, this is a very easy venture.  As the cliche goes, it is a walk in the park.  At AllTrails.com, in the member provided description, Jennifer Johnson writes, "this is a fun trail and easy for kids."  And Steven Davies wrote, "trails are clearyly marked...I had a group of kids ages 5-10.  None of them had a hard time."  Personally, I have not completed this hike, but if I were hiking this trail I see no potential danger of getting lost or dying. 

There was something else going on other than two innocent kids trying to enjoy a hike.  Only if you leave the trail into the thick impassable vegetation is the terrain steep and rough. Two teenage athletes almost dying in this particular area can only raise questions.  Why leave the trail?  Were they doing something illegal?  At best, this ordeal is due to complete negligence and at worst, there was some illegal activity.  I do believe that there is something more to this story as it does not all add up.  That being said, it is good news that both kids were found alive.

Karin Klein rightly asks the question in her LA Times Opinion piece, who should pay for this massive search and rescue effort?  Much of the search was conducted by volunteers, but there is no such thing as a free lunch .