Letter Re: The James Kim Exposure Death Tragedy: Lessons to Be Learned

I live in Curry County [Oregon], and on occasion travel the road over the mountains to Galice. I think that the primary lesson to learn from his tragedy is that you have to know where you are. The SOP for being lost in the woods is to “hug a tree” and wait for rescue. That doesn’t always work around here, and Mr. Kim wasn’t necessarily wrong in trying to walk out for help. Several years ago, in March, a guy was found on that same road, frozen, sitting in his pickup waiting for rescue. He’d been missing since November. Another common piece of advice for people stuck in the woods is to travel downhill, find water, and follow it downstream. That doesn’t work here either. You will end up cold, wet, and trapped at the bottom of a cliff. Around here you have to go uphill until you find a logging spur or an old log deck [also called a log landing or log yard] and then build a big fire. Actually, if Mr. Kim had just stayed on the road, he could have walked to either Galice or Agness in one hard day. You have to know where you are, and adapt accordingly. – R.M.