A lost Palo Alto couple. A 'miraculous' rescue. Here's what happened to Ian Irwin and Carol Kiparsky.

How a Valentine's Day hike turned into a journey of survival

Ian Irwin and Carol Kiparsky sit on their backyard deck in Palo Alto on Dec. 2. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

News

A lost Palo Alto couple. A 'miraculous' rescue. Here's what happened to Ian Irwin and Carol Kiparsky.

How a Valentine's Day hike turned into a journey of survival

Ian Irwin and Carol Kiparsky sit on their backyard deck in Palo Alto on Dec. 2. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The late afternoon hike from their vacation cottage wasn't supposed to take more than 15 minutes. For Palo Altans Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin, the idyllic sunset walk along a narrow Marin County trail instead became a nine-day walkabout and a fight for their very survival.

Their disappearance on Feb. 14 set off a massive search-and-rescue mission, which took helicopters and ground teams over and through the rough terrain near Seahaven/Inverness. Given their ages — she, 77, and he, 72 — the length of time their absence and weather conditions, authorities at one point declared that the rescue had turned into a recovery mission and started searching Tomales Bay for their remains.

But Kiparsky and Irwin did survive, living off fiddlehead tops of ferns and a few seeps, or puddles, containing muddy water. They were found safe by a search-and-rescue team on Feb. 22. Now recovered but still processing their journey, they agreed to talk to the Palo Alto Weekly on Nov. 25, their first interview since their rescue.

Theirs is a story of survival, but don't call what they went through an "ordeal," they said. Their experiences amounted to much more than that, with deeper insights into the importance of love and companionship, universal human experience and of never giving up.

Irwin and Kiparsky weren't novice hikers the day they disappeared. The couple has trekked many places over the years, and they were acquainted with the area around their vacation retreat in Seahaven/Inverness, they said. Irwin was an experienced backpacker, spending weeks at a time in the Sierra Mountains.

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Having arrived earlier in the week, they set out on a narrow trail near their cottage to find a commanding view of their surroundings, including Tomales Bay.

"We thought it would be lovely to see the sunset and come back and have dinner," Irwin recalled.

As the sun descended in the sky, they worked their way back toward the cottage. Seemingly in an instant, the beauty and grace of the setting sun fell away into a black, moonless void. Coastal mist enveloped them.

They became disoriented. They were walking the trail "by Braille," Irwin recalled, tapping their feet on the ground to figure out what was the trail and what was off-trail. "I tripped and fell and I banged my head and broke my glasses," he said.

Irwin balanced the cockeyed pieces on the bridge of his nose. He had blood dripping from a gash on his forehead, and later he found blood had dripped down his glasses that had obscured his vision, he said.

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The trail was covered in thick vegetation along many stretches. With Irwin injured and the dark upon them, they realized they could not travel farther. They decided to spend the night where they were.

Normally on hikes, they carry a small pack with essential supplies, but they were only on a brief stroll.

Palo Alto residents Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin began their trek on the Jepson Trail in Inverness on Feb. 14. Courtesy Lena Zentall.

"We had nothing with us. No phone, no light, no water, nothing," Irwin said.

"Not even a candy bar," Kiparsky added.

They were also dressed for a short evening outing. She wore corduroy pants, a favorite sweatshirt with a jacket on top, a hat and comfortable shoes; Irwin had a light down sweater jacket, flannel shirt, corduroy pants with a small tear in one leg and hiking boots.

Alone in the cold and darkness, they piled up ferns on which to rest their heads. That night would be the first of many without much sleep. With temperatures in the low- to mid-30s, the nights were "bone-chilling," Irwin said. They huddled as best as they could to keep each other warm.

"We would take turns to warm each other up," Irwin added. As they tossed and turned through the night, they alternated holding the other's back for warmth.

By 10 a.m., the sun was high enough and the shadows had receded so they could warm up and catch a little sleep. The first day, they were high on the hillside and could hear cars and voices. If they followed the sounds, they would find their way out, they thought.

"I could see Tomales Bay in the distance. The trails are narrow here and tend to come and go, so we wandered most of that morning. We thought if you can navigate downhill we would get to Tomales Bay and to civilization. It was really hard going. We were beating through dense, dense underbrush," Irwin said.

A view of Tomales Bay from the Jepson Trail in Inverness. Courtesy Lena Zentall.

He threw himself backward over the dense vegetation to flatten it with his back so they could walk on top.

"It was very slow progress. Imagine it was really big and dense like a Brillo pad and you are in the middle of it," Kiparsky said. "It's kind of hard to find your way through. And in any direction you go, there's more Brillo."

In many places, they would fall through the vegetation, which had grown over a creek about 5 or 6 feet beneath, soaking their feet and legs. But they could not drink the water; it smelled of sewage. They decided they wouldn't take a chance. Getting sick on top of being lost was unthinkable, Irwin said.

Hope came in the form of a few distant summer homes, but these were closed up, uninhabited for the winter, they soon realized, with no one inside to see or hear them.

"By day two we did a lot of screaming," Irwin said, trying to attract attention.

At first, they weren't frightened. The couple has done much backpacking. They felt comfortable in the woods, Kiparsky said. Kiparsky remembered hunting for fiddleheads, the spiral, young fronds of Ostrich ferns not yet unfurled that people would pick and eat on the East Coast where she grew up. The tops would usually be sauteed in olive oil and garlic. The couple sustained themselves on uncooked fiddleheads and a few other recognizable edible plants, she said. The fiddleheads are low in calories — only 34 calories per about 100 grams — but they are high in antioxidants, vitamins A and C and essential fatty acids. But they had nothing to drink.

A nine-day search operation in Marin County began on Feb. 14 for Palo Alto residents Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin, who were last seen at a vacation cottage on Via De La Vista.

By day four, they became delusional from the lack of water.

"We saw imaginary people. At one point Carol thought we were in the bedroom. All we had to do was go to the closet and get a blanket to keep warm," Irwin said.

Her delusions became treacherous at times. She didn't recognize her own jacket and took it off, thinking it belonged to someone else; she left a shoe behind that came off in the mud, then saw no need to keep the other.

One saving grace: As the couple drifted in and out of confused states of mind, at least they did it at separate times, they said.

"There was always someone with an ounce of sanity," Kiparsky said.

Irwin said that, just like the spots one sees floating in one's field of vision, thoughts of people he knew passed by, and being alone for so long gave him the chance to remember them more deeply.

"It was an opportunity to think of everyone I've ever known," he said. "I wondered if something did happen to us if they would find out about it and how that would affect them."

"There were all kinds of moments in the day," Kiparsky said. "Definitely, we thought we might die. We thought about grandchildren and children and other people and my cat and I thought, 'There's no way I'm ready to leave these beings. So I'm sorry, I'm not dying.'"

Ian Irwin and Carol Kiparsky pet their cat on their backyard deck in Palo Alto on Dec. 2. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Thoughts of death didn't consume them, though, Irwin said. Their goal was to keep moving and not to give up. And they knew the key was having each other.

"Being close was indispensable," Kiparsky said. "I think I would've not gotten out of there if I had been there by myself."

Because Irwin was injured, at one point she tore pieces of a silk scarf and tied them onto trees so that Irwin could follow her to the next clearing, but even at 20 feet away they couldn't see each other. Although she lost her shoes, Kiparsky's feet were in better shape than Irwin's. Irwin, with boots and wet socks, developed foot problems from the lack of circulation — sort of like trench foot that soldiers developed during World War I, he said. He was afraid to take his shoes off to look at blisters.

When end-of-life thoughts did creep in, they managed them with humor at times.

"At one point we had been talking about planning our estate and the possibility of doing — instead of ... being incinerated or buried — that we would want to be compost. And we were sitting there amid piles of vegetation and everything, and he says, 'You know about that compost burial? We might be accomplishing it right now,'" Kiparsky said.

'Definitely, we thought we might die. We thought about our children and our grandchildren, and I thought, "There's no way I'm ready to leave these beings."'

-Carol Kiparsky, Palo Alto resident

After the fourth day without water, they resolved they had to drink whatever they could. If not, they knew they would die. They found small seeps — puddles created by water oozing up through the ground — and places where a deer might have put their hoof print. The water there didn't smell like a septic system. They tried to absorb the water with a sock, squeezing handfuls into their mouths. Sometimes, they would lie down and sip from the small puddles, they said. The water seeps contained bioluminescent fungi. At night, sticks around the water margins would glow in the dark, Irwin said.

They always had the expectation they would be rescued. At nights, a helicopter flew overhead. Irwin could see its green and red lights. He took off his shirt, hoping his skin would give off a heat signature detectable by infrared sensors.

"It flew right over us. We waved and screamed constantly," he said.

Sometimes they sang songs to lift their spirits. Old favorites turned into ballads about their circumstances, such as songs about drinking muddy water, they said.

By day 9, however, they were beginning to feel they might truly die. The couple was hesitant to leave the water holes.

"We were pretty spent" by then, Irwin said.

But on the morning of Feb. 22, their ninth day in the wilderness, they heard faint voices. The couple called out.

"It seemed to be a call and response," Irwin said.

On the other end were Marin Search and Rescue volunteer Quincy Webster, California Rescue Dog Association volunteer Rich Cassens and Groot, a golden retriever.

Kiparksy and Irwin had been found, about 4 miles from the cottage where they'd started their sunset hike.

Cassens said they would send the dog down to the couple. The brush was too dense to get through.

"I asked, 'Is that a cadaver dog or a person dog?'" Irwin recalled. "He said, 'He does both.'"

The friendly, 3-year-old Groot made his way to them, but it took another 40 minutes for Quincy and Cassens to reach them after cutting through the thick vegetation. They had fresh water, Gatorade and warm clothing.

The Henry 1 helicopter team from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office was deployed to rescue Palo Alto residents Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin from dense vegetation near Inverness in Marin County on Feb. 22.

A helicopter arrived with a litter on which to carry Kiparsky and Irwin out. Irwin broke into song as he was hoisted into the sky, singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," he recalled. As he swung out over the forest, he felt a kinship with all of history: with all of the people who had been lost or traveled through forests before them; of the Coast Miwok who inhabited these lands and all of the slaves who had escaped through forests in the South and into an uncertain and often hostile environment.

"Think about all of the people who endured that for one reason or another," he said.

Kiparsky, who is terrified of heights, said she shivered as the litter carried her into the sky. But her fear was eased. They had made it out alive.

"I looked around and saw the world," she said.

Just as they had been inseparable for nine days, they remained together as they healed. Placed in the ambulance together, they stayed in the same intensive care unit in Marin General Hospital.

Both were hypothermic, with body temperatures of about 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Of the two, Irwin was injured the worst due to hitting his head and with his feet nerve-damaged from being cold and wet in his boots and with poor circulation. Kiparsky mainly had scratched feet, she said.

Ian Irwin and Carol Kiparsky recover at Marin General Hospital in Kentfield on Feb. 22 after searchers rescued them near Inverness. Courtesy Marin County Sheriff's Office.

The couple is immensely grateful for the outpouring of support they have received from all over the world and for their neighbors, who brought them food once they returned home. But don't ask them to talk about their "ordeal," they said.

"It was a much more mixed experience than that," Irwin said. There was "good conversation, good company and some beauties of nature."

The experience was also transformative: "The commonality of all humanity, even across time and even across individual experiences. We share an awful lot across time, history and as a nation," Irwin said.

Kiparsky said she was most struck by "truly being present. Really present and immersed, even for a moment, was something I learned out there."

Kiparsky and Irwin now savor each taste of food, each encounter with a person, the sound of music — and nature. Looking out at the finches at their backyard bird feeder, Kiparsky said, "Before, it was a fleeting, 'Oh, we've got birds. Isn't that nice?'

But now, "There's so much more capacity to know who's who and how many different kinds they are and their behaviors and seeing them from different angles," she said.

There are flashbacks. During a visit to a garden store in Redwood City, Irwin came across benches made out of twisted willow branches. It brought back unpleasant memories of the thicket of brambles, he said.

The couple has been doing much writing about their experiences since returning home.

"We're definitely processing," Kiparsky said of their time in the wilderness, which is still vivid to her. "I feel there's a lot to be learned from it. ... When I stop and think about it, things come up."

They also haven't shied from revisiting the place where they became lost. In August, they went back to those woods to find where they had started. They were accompanied by two of their rescuers, and they shared all of the events, including what was involved in their rescue.

About 1,400 or 1,500 people get lost in national parks each year, Irwin said he has heard.

Looking back on their experience, Irwin said when taking even a short walk in the wilderness now, he will take a cellphone, as much as he dislikes mobile devices.

Kiparsky said that what stands out to her most is a new perspective: "You are just more aware of being alive. Alive."

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A lost Palo Alto couple. A 'miraculous' rescue. Here's what happened to Ian Irwin and Carol Kiparsky.

How a Valentine's Day hike turned into a journey of survival

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 6:58 am

The late afternoon hike from their vacation cottage wasn't supposed to take more than 15 minutes. For Palo Altans Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin, the idyllic sunset walk along a narrow Marin County trail instead became a nine-day walkabout and a fight for their very survival.

Their disappearance on Feb. 14 set off a massive search-and-rescue mission, which took helicopters and ground teams over and through the rough terrain near Seahaven/Inverness. Given their ages — she, 77, and he, 72 — the length of time their absence and weather conditions, authorities at one point declared that the rescue had turned into a recovery mission and started searching Tomales Bay for their remains.

But Kiparsky and Irwin did survive, living off fiddlehead tops of ferns and a few seeps, or puddles, containing muddy water. They were found safe by a search-and-rescue team on Feb. 22. Now recovered but still processing their journey, they agreed to talk to the Palo Alto Weekly on Nov. 25, their first interview since their rescue.

Theirs is a story of survival, but don't call what they went through an "ordeal," they said. Their experiences amounted to much more than that, with deeper insights into the importance of love and companionship, universal human experience and of never giving up.

Irwin and Kiparsky weren't novice hikers the day they disappeared. The couple has trekked many places over the years, and they were acquainted with the area around their vacation retreat in Seahaven/Inverness, they said. Irwin was an experienced backpacker, spending weeks at a time in the Sierra Mountains.

Having arrived earlier in the week, they set out on a narrow trail near their cottage to find a commanding view of their surroundings, including Tomales Bay.

"We thought it would be lovely to see the sunset and come back and have dinner," Irwin recalled.

As the sun descended in the sky, they worked their way back toward the cottage. Seemingly in an instant, the beauty and grace of the setting sun fell away into a black, moonless void. Coastal mist enveloped them.

They became disoriented. They were walking the trail "by Braille," Irwin recalled, tapping their feet on the ground to figure out what was the trail and what was off-trail. "I tripped and fell and I banged my head and broke my glasses," he said.

Irwin balanced the cockeyed pieces on the bridge of his nose. He had blood dripping from a gash on his forehead, and later he found blood had dripped down his glasses that had obscured his vision, he said.

The trail was covered in thick vegetation along many stretches. With Irwin injured and the dark upon them, they realized they could not travel farther. They decided to spend the night where they were.

Normally on hikes, they carry a small pack with essential supplies, but they were only on a brief stroll.

"We had nothing with us. No phone, no light, no water, nothing," Irwin said.

"Not even a candy bar," Kiparsky added.

They were also dressed for a short evening outing. She wore corduroy pants, a favorite sweatshirt with a jacket on top, a hat and comfortable shoes; Irwin had a light down sweater jacket, flannel shirt, corduroy pants with a small tear in one leg and hiking boots.

Alone in the cold and darkness, they piled up ferns on which to rest their heads. That night would be the first of many without much sleep. With temperatures in the low- to mid-30s, the nights were "bone-chilling," Irwin said. They huddled as best as they could to keep each other warm.

"We would take turns to warm each other up," Irwin added. As they tossed and turned through the night, they alternated holding the other's back for warmth.

By 10 a.m., the sun was high enough and the shadows had receded so they could warm up and catch a little sleep. The first day, they were high on the hillside and could hear cars and voices. If they followed the sounds, they would find their way out, they thought.

"I could see Tomales Bay in the distance. The trails are narrow here and tend to come and go, so we wandered most of that morning. We thought if you can navigate downhill we would get to Tomales Bay and to civilization. It was really hard going. We were beating through dense, dense underbrush," Irwin said.

He threw himself backward over the dense vegetation to flatten it with his back so they could walk on top.

"It was very slow progress. Imagine it was really big and dense like a Brillo pad and you are in the middle of it," Kiparsky said. "It's kind of hard to find your way through. And in any direction you go, there's more Brillo."

In many places, they would fall through the vegetation, which had grown over a creek about 5 or 6 feet beneath, soaking their feet and legs. But they could not drink the water; it smelled of sewage. They decided they wouldn't take a chance. Getting sick on top of being lost was unthinkable, Irwin said.

Hope came in the form of a few distant summer homes, but these were closed up, uninhabited for the winter, they soon realized, with no one inside to see or hear them.

"By day two we did a lot of screaming," Irwin said, trying to attract attention.

At first, they weren't frightened. The couple has done much backpacking. They felt comfortable in the woods, Kiparsky said. Kiparsky remembered hunting for fiddleheads, the spiral, young fronds of Ostrich ferns not yet unfurled that people would pick and eat on the East Coast where she grew up. The tops would usually be sauteed in olive oil and garlic. The couple sustained themselves on uncooked fiddleheads and a few other recognizable edible plants, she said. The fiddleheads are low in calories — only 34 calories per about 100 grams — but they are high in antioxidants, vitamins A and C and essential fatty acids. But they had nothing to drink.

By day four, they became delusional from the lack of water.

"We saw imaginary people. At one point Carol thought we were in the bedroom. All we had to do was go to the closet and get a blanket to keep warm," Irwin said.

Her delusions became treacherous at times. She didn't recognize her own jacket and took it off, thinking it belonged to someone else; she left a shoe behind that came off in the mud, then saw no need to keep the other.

One saving grace: As the couple drifted in and out of confused states of mind, at least they did it at separate times, they said.

"There was always someone with an ounce of sanity," Kiparsky said.

Irwin said that, just like the spots one sees floating in one's field of vision, thoughts of people he knew passed by, and being alone for so long gave him the chance to remember them more deeply.

"It was an opportunity to think of everyone I've ever known," he said. "I wondered if something did happen to us if they would find out about it and how that would affect them."

"There were all kinds of moments in the day," Kiparsky said. "Definitely, we thought we might die. We thought about grandchildren and children and other people and my cat and I thought, 'There's no way I'm ready to leave these beings. So I'm sorry, I'm not dying.'"

Thoughts of death didn't consume them, though, Irwin said. Their goal was to keep moving and not to give up. And they knew the key was having each other.

"Being close was indispensable," Kiparsky said. "I think I would've not gotten out of there if I had been there by myself."

Because Irwin was injured, at one point she tore pieces of a silk scarf and tied them onto trees so that Irwin could follow her to the next clearing, but even at 20 feet away they couldn't see each other. Although she lost her shoes, Kiparsky's feet were in better shape than Irwin's. Irwin, with boots and wet socks, developed foot problems from the lack of circulation — sort of like trench foot that soldiers developed during World War I, he said. He was afraid to take his shoes off to look at blisters.

When end-of-life thoughts did creep in, they managed them with humor at times.

"At one point we had been talking about planning our estate and the possibility of doing — instead of ... being incinerated or buried — that we would want to be compost. And we were sitting there amid piles of vegetation and everything, and he says, 'You know about that compost burial? We might be accomplishing it right now,'" Kiparsky said.

After the fourth day without water, they resolved they had to drink whatever they could. If not, they knew they would die. They found small seeps — puddles created by water oozing up through the ground — and places where a deer might have put their hoof print. The water there didn't smell like a septic system. They tried to absorb the water with a sock, squeezing handfuls into their mouths. Sometimes, they would lie down and sip from the small puddles, they said. The water seeps contained bioluminescent fungi. At night, sticks around the water margins would glow in the dark, Irwin said.

They always had the expectation they would be rescued. At nights, a helicopter flew overhead. Irwin could see its green and red lights. He took off his shirt, hoping his skin would give off a heat signature detectable by infrared sensors.

"It flew right over us. We waved and screamed constantly," he said.

Sometimes they sang songs to lift their spirits. Old favorites turned into ballads about their circumstances, such as songs about drinking muddy water, they said.

By day 9, however, they were beginning to feel they might truly die. The couple was hesitant to leave the water holes.

"We were pretty spent" by then, Irwin said.

But on the morning of Feb. 22, their ninth day in the wilderness, they heard faint voices. The couple called out.

"It seemed to be a call and response," Irwin said.

On the other end were Marin Search and Rescue volunteer Quincy Webster, California Rescue Dog Association volunteer Rich Cassens and Groot, a golden retriever.

Kiparksy and Irwin had been found, about 4 miles from the cottage where they'd started their sunset hike.

Cassens said they would send the dog down to the couple. The brush was too dense to get through.

"I asked, 'Is that a cadaver dog or a person dog?'" Irwin recalled. "He said, 'He does both.'"

The friendly, 3-year-old Groot made his way to them, but it took another 40 minutes for Quincy and Cassens to reach them after cutting through the thick vegetation. They had fresh water, Gatorade and warm clothing.

A helicopter arrived with a litter on which to carry Kiparsky and Irwin out. Irwin broke into song as he was hoisted into the sky, singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," he recalled. As he swung out over the forest, he felt a kinship with all of history: with all of the people who had been lost or traveled through forests before them; of the Coast Miwok who inhabited these lands and all of the slaves who had escaped through forests in the South and into an uncertain and often hostile environment.

"Think about all of the people who endured that for one reason or another," he said.

Kiparsky, who is terrified of heights, said she shivered as the litter carried her into the sky. But her fear was eased. They had made it out alive.

"I looked around and saw the world," she said.

Just as they had been inseparable for nine days, they remained together as they healed. Placed in the ambulance together, they stayed in the same intensive care unit in Marin General Hospital.

Both were hypothermic, with body temperatures of about 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Of the two, Irwin was injured the worst due to hitting his head and with his feet nerve-damaged from being cold and wet in his boots and with poor circulation. Kiparsky mainly had scratched feet, she said.

The couple is immensely grateful for the outpouring of support they have received from all over the world and for their neighbors, who brought them food once they returned home. But don't ask them to talk about their "ordeal," they said.

"It was a much more mixed experience than that," Irwin said. There was "good conversation, good company and some beauties of nature."

The experience was also transformative: "The commonality of all humanity, even across time and even across individual experiences. We share an awful lot across time, history and as a nation," Irwin said.

Kiparsky said she was most struck by "truly being present. Really present and immersed, even for a moment, was something I learned out there."

Kiparsky and Irwin now savor each taste of food, each encounter with a person, the sound of music — and nature. Looking out at the finches at their backyard bird feeder, Kiparsky said, "Before, it was a fleeting, 'Oh, we've got birds. Isn't that nice?'

But now, "There's so much more capacity to know who's who and how many different kinds they are and their behaviors and seeing them from different angles," she said.

There are flashbacks. During a visit to a garden store in Redwood City, Irwin came across benches made out of twisted willow branches. It brought back unpleasant memories of the thicket of brambles, he said.

The couple has been doing much writing about their experiences since returning home.

"We're definitely processing," Kiparsky said of their time in the wilderness, which is still vivid to her. "I feel there's a lot to be learned from it. ... When I stop and think about it, things come up."

They also haven't shied from revisiting the place where they became lost. In August, they went back to those woods to find where they had started. They were accompanied by two of their rescuers, and they shared all of the events, including what was involved in their rescue.

About 1,400 or 1,500 people get lost in national parks each year, Irwin said he has heard.

Looking back on their experience, Irwin said when taking even a short walk in the wilderness now, he will take a cellphone, as much as he dislikes mobile devices.

Kiparsky said that what stands out to her most is a new perspective: "You are just more aware of being alive. Alive."

Comments

Juan
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Dec 4, 2020 at 7:19 am
Juan, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2020 at 7:19 am
theAlex
Registered user
South of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2020 at 7:23 am
theAlex, South of Midtown
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2020 at 7:23 am

Welcome back guys! Thanks for letting us in on your powerful story.
I remember the relief I felt when I heard you made it out alive and well. I only wish that you had broken into one of those summer homes you came across, but that's hindsight...


CC
Registered user
University South
on Dec 4, 2020 at 10:15 am
CC, University South
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2020 at 10:15 am

I’ve never been so happy as I was when I got the call you both were found, alive.

I had had conversations with our neighbors and your son about planning a celebration of life service. That quickly turned to planning a really different and much happier party. But alas. Covid. No parties allowed.

But don’t think for a minute, that your neighbors won’t be planning a big party once we’re able.

Love you guys so much. ❤️❤️❤️


jr1
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Dec 4, 2020 at 10:48 am
jr1, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2020 at 10:48 am

I'm thrilled they were found and doing well, but using a little common sense walks are fine but do them around Palo Alto.


VS
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Dec 4, 2020 at 11:37 am
VS, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2020 at 11:37 am

I love that you walked away with such a wonderful perspective on shared humanity that crosses time and boundaries. Clearly, your love for each other pulled you through...that along with your own ingenuity and some very dedicated rescuers.


Educator
Registered user
Midtown
on Dec 4, 2020 at 12:04 pm
Educator, Midtown
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2020 at 12:04 pm

Such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. My family does not know them, but we were following their story and hoping for the best.


Green Gables
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2020 at 1:31 pm
Green Gables, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2020 at 1:31 pm

Always take your cellphone no matter if you are going for a small walk in Palo Alto or hiking up Mt. Shasta.


Spectator at Large
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2020 at 1:58 pm
Spectator at Large, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2020 at 1:58 pm

Glad to hear more details of the story. I think this is a reminder of how quickly darkness sets in. Can’t imagine how you got 4 miles away! Pack yourself a small bag to take out each time with essentials assuming that you may need something on any hike. We were wondering how you got so disoriented. I still don’t know the answer based on the story. I am amazed that a tracking dog was not able to find you. Probably they can’t hold the scent through “Brillo” like brush.


Irene
Registered user
another community
on Dec 4, 2020 at 4:40 pm
Irene, another community
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2020 at 4:40 pm

Sue - Congrats on a wonderful story with a very happy ending.


maryakatiff
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2020 at 6:35 pm
maryakatiff, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2020 at 6:35 pm

Thank you for sharing this story. I teach a class at De Anza College, EWRT 2, which is advanced composition and reading. The theme of my class for several years as been Wilderness, including literary/filmic narratives of harrowing journeys into the wild that resulted in triumph, chaos or death. Students have responded to the films, books, and articles with great interest. These are important stories that bind us together with other humans, with animals, and with the earth. I am so grateful to hear your tale of survival, and appreciate the message of unity and appreciation for nature that extends from it.


Squidsie
Registered user
another community
on Dec 4, 2020 at 9:26 pm
Squidsie, another community
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2020 at 9:26 pm

I do search and rescue for another county, and can tell you that this sort of outcome is why we do it. The searchers should be immensely proud of their successful search. Too often, they are far sadder. Kudos to Marin SAR and CARDA. and a "good boy!" to Groot.


Amy
Registered user
University South
on Dec 5, 2020 at 9:21 pm
Amy, University South
Registered user
on Dec 5, 2020 at 9:21 pm

I'm crying happy tears all over again.


Scott
Registered user
Community Center
on Dec 12, 2020 at 1:56 pm
Scott, Community Center
Registered user
on Dec 12, 2020 at 1:56 pm

I was very happy when these guys were found--but to this day don't understand how they got lost. I'm a hiker, and am familiar with the area where they got lost...it is hardly "wilderness." It is bounded by Sir Francis Drake on one side, Pierce Pt. Road on another, Tomales Bay to the east, and a small road called "Shallow Beach" on the other. They might have been 4 miles from their rental cottage (I have to question this), but the farthest you can be away from any of the boundaries of that area is about a half mile. Note that they could hear "voices" the morning after their first night.....I simply don't understand how they could not, after their first night, have found a way out.


Rob Roberts
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Dec 25, 2020 at 6:40 am
Rob Roberts, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Dec 25, 2020 at 6:40 am

Sister Barb just sent this. Major congrats on the survival of two wonderful and valuable people. Made my Christmas. (Re neighborhoods--I live in Florida)
Rob Roberts


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