PA couple try to visit Grand Canyon North Rim, make very bad decisions

From "Mom Walks 26 Miles In Freezing Wilderness To Help Save Family" at the HuffPost [1]:

A Pennsylvania mom is in stable condition after she made a harrowing trek through the Arizona wilderness to help save her stranded family, hiking more than 20 miles in freezing temperatures. Karen Klein, 46, was on vacation with her husband and 10-year-old son near Grand Canyon National Park last Thursday when danger struck, the Morning Call reported. Heavy snow stopped the family from driving much further into the park, and when they tried turning around, their vehicle got stuck in a ditch...

She's since gone on shows like Good Morning America and has been celebrated by many when the opposite should be the case. She and her husband made a series of very bad decisions that endangered themselves and their 10-year-old son. They're lucky to be alive; danger didn't "strike" them, they did things the wrong way and it came back to bite them.

This incident happened near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and that part of the National Park is closed this time of year. They decided to follow an alternative route to the North Rim on back roads suggested by their GPS. They were obviously unprepared for what they were getting into; per Klein herself "As far as places being closed, we just didn't realize that these roads were closed and these visitor centers were closed. We didn't investigate that deeply."

If I were going to do something like this, I'd first tell a few people where I was going and when I was expected back so they could send search parties after me if I didn't come back in time. I'd have enough necessary supplies: different ways to start a fire (waterproof matches, butane lighters, a flint fire starter, etc.), a sleeping bag or at least blankets, a metal pan to melt snow, nalgene bottles to hold water, and so on.

Reports say the Kleins had a rental car, which probably means it was a low-clearance 2WD sedan: another mistake given the conditions. They weren't careful to avoid getting the car stuck, apparently backing into a ditch. They don't appear to have had many supplies with them and it's not known if they improvised any necessities. If she had to eat twigs, then they probably had very little food. Drinking your own urine is a bad idea because it's full of things your body has already gotten rid of. That also implies she didn't have fire, a way to start a fire, and couldn't figure out how to start a fire.

Both her and then her husband left their car, with the husband and the son walking 15 miles until they could make a cellphone call. Both her and her husband's treks could have resulted in tragedy. They should have stayed with the car and signaled for help: three piles of stones or branches on white snow could have been seen from the air, as would black smoke from burning the spare tire. They could have started a fire using the cigarette lighter or by creating a spark from the car battery.

There have been several other cases like this, such as the James Kim case in Oregon and a couple who were stranded in Utah. Those two resulted in deaths; in this case Karen Klein might just lose some toes. All would probably have had better outcomes if better decisions had been made and, even lacking that, they had had basic Boy Scout training.

Calls for people to be more self-reliant are frequently from sociopathic fiscal conservatives and libertarians, whose only real goal is to reduce the wealthy's taxes. That doesn't mean that self-reliance is a bad thing, even if some who espouse it have ulterior motives. In fact, those same fiscal conservatives and libertarians who espouse self-reliance support the rampant consumerism that leads people to think that driving 20 miles down a back road is the same as driving to the mall to buy a new smartphone.

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[1] huffingtonpost . com/entry/
mom-walks-26-miles_us_58629309e4b0eb58648725e3

December 28, 2016 – 2:09pm