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Know the West

Respect your rescuers


Thankfully, "How to get search-and-rescued," Shaina Maytum's travel horror story (HCN, 4/14/14), was short. Fixated on what the volunteer rescuers were wearing (Postal Service uniform, jeans, Keds), she neglected to admit what's important: She's lucky to be alive.

Any sense of personal responsibility was missing, along with any gratitude for the search-and-rescue folks who drop everything when they get a call (and don't go home first to change their outfits). The first rescuer to arrive was insultingly dismissed as "overweight."

When coeds from the Republic of Boulder venture out into the wilds of San Juan County, Utah, they should drop the fashion-police attitude and have more respect for the risks involved in scrambling around on the remote slickrock cliffs of Cedar Mesa, not only to themselves, but to those who have to pick up the pieces.

On my first week as a river guide 26 years ago, I was unexpectedly drafted to help with a body recovery. A college kid from Texas had taken a "shortcut" and fallen 200 feet to his death. I was wearing flip-flops, a bathing-suit top and shorts.

If I ever have to be rescued in Boulder by skinny life coaches wearing yoga pants and neon running shoes, the first thing I will say is, "Thank you."

Tamara Wiggans Desrosiers
Bluff, Utah