A strange coincidence -- in the past two weeks, two women have gone missing from two different Point Reyes trailheads -- Tomales Point and North Beach. From all accounts, both women were very familiar with the local terrain and trails. Were they both swept to sea? It's pretty doubtful that the two women will be found alive, since it seems so unlikely they are lost.
Last July a hiker went missing at El Corte de Madera Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve. His remains were found this past week.
Remember, tell someone when and where you are going hiking. Carrying a cell phone is not enough of a safety net.
Leaving word where you are going is good, but falling off a cliff or being swept out to sea are both usually irretrievable events. It is very easy for experienced hikers to underestimate the risks they are taking, just because of a long string of good luck. I read Laurence Gonzales's Deep Survival a few years ago, and as a result, am much more careful.
Most of the places I like to hike at I can't use my cell phone. I usually take a map and use a highliter to show exactly where I'm going and the routes I plan on taking there and back and give it to my sister so just in case I am incapacitated somehow they will know where to look for me. I have been to the Point Reyes beaches where those two women disappeared and my heart goes out to their families. Frankly, I am surprised it doesn't happen more often since I have seen so many people, mostly children, playing in the surf even though there are signs posted all over saying how dangerous the water can be.
And always carry pepper spray just in case you run into an aggressive mountain lion or weirdo. My wife and I do.
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