Monday, September 08, 2008

Lost in America

Keep in mind, these people's votes count just the same as yours ...

Last month, a group of vacationing family members and friends from Southern California in four vehicles used a Global Positioning System to find their way out of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the wilds of Utah. "They got stranded on the edge of a 500-foot cliff," according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune, which added:

"The incident is part of a growing problem of people relying on technology to find a quick route across an area of deep canyons, washes and primitive roads that could be too much even for off-highway vehicles."

The travelers were rescued after calling for help on a cell phone.

The article in the Salt Lake City paper said that dozens of similar incidents have occurred in the wilderness of Grand Staircase-Escalante. Among the most recent ones:

--A Pennsylvania couple following GPS instructions who got lost and stranded for four days

--A Connecticut family following GPS instructions who got lost and stole a rancher's pickup to tow their bogged-down car. The pickup ran out of gas and the family was rescued ... by the rancher whose pickup they'd stolen.

--A group from Belgium stranded after following GPS instructions. "The family had to lick condensation off their minivan's windshield for water" before they were finally rescued, said the newspaper, in a report by Mark Havnes.

Thanks to the wonderful weekly "High Country News" -- always a great read -- for the tip.


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