A few news and notes from the great outdoors…
Had some comments on the issue of “Yuppie 911,” where people use emergency beacons frivolously or, worse yet, try things in the outdoors beyond their skills. Here’s what Out There reader Trent Riley had to say:
“I read this a few days ago on 14ers forum, it’s so lame that people would do such a thing. I mean really, how could you not feel like an idiot for doing something like that. It cracks me up to this day when I see some of the people in the mountains that have no idea or seem to at least have no idea what safety is. The whole incident seemed outrageous and it’s sad people will rely on others to help them through their wilderness experience. To me, having a helicopter bring you water because you thought your water was salty takes the point of adventure out of hiking/climbing. Very glad you posted something on this, keep up the great work.”
Thanks for the comments. I think there’s a lot of people who would agree.
I got some good comments from another forum concerning Charon’s Garden Wilderness Area and Mount Mitchell. From the 14ers.com forum, here’s a few words from current and former Okies who have shared similar experiences in the Wichitas:
“Wow, that brings back a lot of memories. When I was in high school my dad lived in Lawton, so every other weekend my brother and I would go see him. We spent most of our time hiking and camping in the Wichitas. It sure would be nice to swing by there again. And of course we always ate at Meers.”
You’re going to see a theme here…
“I was born in Oklahoma, so I could be close to my Mom. When I turned 18, I moved to Golden, Colorado, and never looked back. I visited the Wichita Wildlife Refuge to climb several times. It is pretty cool considering it is in Oklahoma. The rock is very solid, and there are tons of natural features to climb. The ratings are a bit soft if you ask me, and make you feel like a hard man. I have several fond memories of eating a Meersburger after climbing, a culinary item that is definitely bigger than my head. Friends and I used to hang out there during high school to get away from OKC. If you love to climb and are anywhere near the place, check it out — it is really cool. Don’t forget to get a food/culture dose in Meers!”
Looks like we have a couple votes for the Meersbuger at the Meers Store. Count me in! Interesting word on how Oklahoma routes are classified. Wonder if anyone feels the same way. Anyway, some more suggestions about the wilderness…
“Nice trip report. Looks like your route was a little different than the one Barry and I did on SP. (Sunset Peak?) Another one of my favorite hikes is the Sunset Peak traverse. We do that one several times over the winter and early spring. It is quite a bit easier than Mitchell, but it is still almost all bushwhack. The nice thing about peaks like Mitchell and Sunset is you hardly ever see other people that far back in the wilderness.”
Sunset Peak is on my list. From what I could see, I’d have to agree. It doesn’t look as difficult as Mitchell. And this poster is correct: Few people venture into this part of the Wichitas, and my group saw no other signs of human activity. Thanks for your comments, everyone.