Still wondering how they did it?

Yesterday, in Cataloochee Valley, while I was getting some pictures of young female elk, I was approached by a young couple out backpacking.  They had gotten lost and needed help getting back to their car.  No problem, I got them situated and off we went for the 16 mile journey over some awesome dirt roads to Big Creek Camping area.

Here’s the point:  They somehow had wandered off the trail and ended up beside me, over 23 miles OFF their trail.  No map, no idea where they were.  This was a disaster getting ready to happen.  I was happy to help, but what if I wasn’t there?  Most visitors to the Valley are tourist families.  I seriously  doubt if anyone would have picked them up, much less realized where they needed to be.

Please, when out hiking, always carry a map and compass, or at least a trail description from a hiking book.  Be aware of where you are at all times.  These mountains can be dangerous for inexperienced or experienced hikers.

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