Just a quick update on those missing hikers in Alaska: After five days lost in the Denali backcountry, Erica Nelson, 23, of Nevada, and Abby Flantz, 25, of Minnesota, reached an area of cell phone coverage, where they called Nelson's mom while she met with park officials to talk about the day's search plans. (We don't know what her first words were, but presumably not 'can you hear me now?')
They are described as safe and "doing well," though not many details have been revealed about their specific condition. They are currently awaiting a helicopter rescue somewhere near Dry Creek, on the eastern edge of the 100-square-mile search area.
16 ground teams and additional search crews from Grand Teton, Mount Rainier, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, and Yosemite planned to head out for another day of grueling SAR when the cell phone call came in to Nelson's mother.
"Her face looked like she'd seen a ghost," (National Park Service spokeswoman Kris) Fister said.
Happily for Ms. Nelson, it wasn't. But these two were lucky; plenty of people head out into the Alaska backcountry and end up spooks for eternity.
— Ted Alvarez