Lunchbox's Disaster Roundup, 02-01

The beloved star of our in-book feature "The Predicament," Lunchbox the Cadaver Sniffing Dog, brings you a round-up of this week's outdoor predicaments, disasters, and near-misses

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Hello, campers, hikers, and backcountry warriors of all stripes. I’m back to kick off the shortest month with another collection of survival tales gone right/wrong. Let’s get to it—woof!

Thousands of stranded Machu Picchu tourists rescued. Mudslides last week stranded 3,900 tourists at Peru’s famous Machu Picchu ruins. Heavy rains washed out the railroad, which was the only form of transit to the popular site. Stranded visitors grew increasingly desperate as accomodations, food, and water rations dwindled and local vendors began price gouging. Helicopters airlifted the last tourist this past Sunday.

Lunchbox’s Lesson: Jeez, can’t we all just get along? Despite limited casualties (about 5 total), the Machu Picchu debacle showcased humans’ capability to give in to their worst instincts in a crisis. If more people had stayed calm and extended a helping hand, rescues could’ve been expedited, everyone would be safer until then.

Hiker dies on Florida Trail. An unidentified young male hiker was found dead along the Florida Trail in Okeechobee County, Florida. While authorities haven’t yet determined the cause of death, they believe rare freezing temperatures might’ve caused the victim to succumb to hypothermia in this swampy section of the Florida Trail. He was hiking alone and found wearing only cargo shorts, a t-shirt, and a light windbreaker.

Lunchbox’s Lesson: This unfortunate hiker was found with a Florida Trail Association membership card, which indicates he might’ve been an experienced hiker. Even so, he was beyond unprepared for the conditions—a simple reading of the weather report would’ve perhaps led him to carry warmer clothing and emergency survival gear. And I feel like I’ll have to keep barking this over and over: Never hike alone if you can avoid it.

OK, folks: Be careful out there. I’ve got some chow waiting for me—don’t make me come get you.