‘Saved’ by a flashlight app?

I saw this story about a man who got lost, then used a flashlight app on his smart phone to signal rescuers.

Reading the text of the story, it says he got turned around hiking with his dog on Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain, a 1,900-foot high point in that state’s share of the Appalachians.

The story says he was able to get enough reception to call 911 for help. Authorities told him to stay put. He then downloaded a flashlight app on his phone, then used it to signal a helicopter which was used in the search. It was a success, allowing him to get home in time to keep his New Year’s Eve plans.

Having done a solo hike or two, and also having been pretty good at getting turned around, I can understand getting worried about getting lost in the dark. But I guess what I take from this story is that it may have been easier to get out than he thought. A little pre-hike preparation — a trail map and a compass — could have led him out of the “maze of trails” which confounded him, even in the dark. It’s always helps to have a plan on solo ventures, and to occasionally look around for landmarks in case you get lost.

Good for him that he was “rescued.” But it’s disheartening to think of the expense incurred over a guy who was lost in the woods but close enough to civilization that he could download an app on his phone.

I guess it could have been worse. Instead of taking to time to download the flashlight app that helped rescuers find him, he could have stayed put and killed time playing Angry Birds. I’ll be curious what will be in his pack the next time he hikes solo.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088

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