NORTH Shore Rescue volunteers had to escort a wayward hiker back to civilization after he lost his way in the woods east of Cypress Bowl late Sunday afternoon.
The New Westminster resident was hiking along the Trans¬–Canada trail just above British Properties on a trip from the Cleveland Dam to the Cypress Lookout on Cypress Bowl Road when he made a wrong turn.
“He got very close to the lookout and then he got disorientated on the trail system. It’s a bit of a rat’s nest in that area,” said Tim Jones, NSR team leader.
The stranded hiker called North Vancouver RCMP, who logged his smartphone’s GPS co-ordinates and passed him along to North Shore Rescue.
The co-ordinates placed him half a kilometre away from his actual location, but Jones gleaned enough information over the phone to guide the man back to the power lines. Once there, Jones dispatched a six-volunteer rescue team on foot to bring him home, just as darkness fell.
Having the cellphone made all the difference in finding the hiker, Jones said, but it was still a close call as the phone’s battery was nearly dead when the call came in.
Too often, rescues are made more complicated by cellphone batteries that go dead before searchers can find someone who has called for help.
In addition to making sure their phones’ GPS location services are turned on and their batteries are fully charged, backcountry adventurers should shut down any unnecessary applications and not waste any battery power calling friends first, Jones added.
“If you get lost, do yourself a favour. Phone us first and have lots of battery juice so we can talk to you,” he said.