Backup Systems


The The Map Room links to an article about tourists that have died in Death Valley of disaster bourne of the absence appropriate supplies, knowledge and preparation exacerbated by faith in the accuracy of their GPS directions. One woman in the Sac Bee article brought her 6 year old son to the aptly named desert where temperatures hit 120 degrees.

No disaster makes that point more tragically than the disappearance of four German tourists – two adults and two boys, ages 3 and 10 – whose rental van became stuck on a remote road in Death Valley during an intense heat wave in July 1996 and who were never heard from again.

Their fate remained a mystery until November 2009, when Tom Mahood, a retired engineer and search-and-rescue volunteer, and a colleague, Les Walker, discovered human bones, the woman’s wallet and other items in an isolated corner of the park near Butte Valley.

via ‘Death by GPS’ in desert – Sacramento News – Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee

Regardless of preparation, children don’t belong on a long excursion into extreme wilderness. If consequences of a mistake are life and death, it is important to have redundant systems. The words “There’s supposed to be…” are of no comfort while you watch your loved ones slowly die around you and realize you are witnessing “the worst that could happen”.