Couple oblivious to dangers hiking above Vail |

Couple oblivious to dangers hiking above Vail

Patrick Tvarkunas
Vail, CO, Colorado

Last Monday, my wife, Lucila, and I were hiking the Booth Lake Trail out of East Vail. We had just made it to the lake and promptly turned around after five minutes due to an incoming thunderstorm.

As we descended back down the trail, we encountered a couple in their 40s on vacation from Missouri. They had committed just about every sin of hiking in the mountains you could commit: It was about 4:30 p.m., they wore short-sleeve cotton shirts and shorts, no rain gear, a 16 ounce Gatorade per person, no compass, no headlamp, and at least two hours brisk hike to the car.

As it was hailing, we huddled under the tree and the couple was surprisingly calm. They didn’t know the potential recipe for disaster that was being concocted! Lucky for them (and us, who would have had to help them down), the storm passed and the sun shone brightly the rest of the evening. I filled their water bottles and we went our separate ways.

I couldn’t stop thinking about their luck, or what could have happened if the storm hadn’t passed — hypothermia, exhaustion, search and rescue, etc.

Hypothermia can hit in only a matter of minutes with the clothes they were wearing, and can lead to a survival situation just as quick.

I can only hope that they learned their lesson, and will be prepared with at least the 10 required items for any hike in the mountains. You can find the list by googling “10 hiking essentials.”

Remember to respect the mountains and enjoy the beauty the Vail Valley has to offer while following the Boy Scouts motto: “Always be prepared.!”

Patrick Tvarkunas


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