Three women who got stuck in the dark on Dog Mountain near Vancouver were just the latest hikers to head into the backwoods without adequate planning and preparation, according to North Shore Rescue.
Search Manager Jeff Yarnold said Thursday's late-night rescue added to the strain NSR volunteers already face, with a flurry of recent rescues.
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Yarnold said the rescue was pretty simple; the three women in their late 20s were able to make cell contact, and searchers were able to 'ping' their phone to get their location.
"They were a little scared out there without lights and jackets," said Yarnold. "Once they knew people were coming to get them, their spirits improved."
A search team found the women and walked them out to safety a little before midnight.
Constant rescues 'very taxing'
Yarnold, who said he and nine other searchers took part in the rescue, said calls like this one are beginning to wear out volunteers who also work regular day jobs.
"Even though these are minor calls, they're very taxing on us. They tire us out and they're not necessary," said Yarnold on Thursday. "It's not stopping, right? Just last night we had guys out until 4 a.m."
Yarnold said NSR has been activated for as many as 14 rescues in the past two weeks.
Hikers unprepared for earlier sunsets
Many recent calls to NSR have been for hikers who get stuck in the forest after dark without flashlights and appropriate clothing.
Yarnold said people don't seem to be adjusting to the shorter days.
"It's becoming a fairly typical call here at Dog Mountain, where we have people coming here in the early evening and they're unprepared for the dark," said Yarnold, who added that the three women rescued Thursday began their hike around 6 p.m.
Yarnold said flashlights and warm clothing are just a couple of the items on NSR's list of 'The 10 Essentials' that everyone should take with them into the backwoods.
He said, if everyone packed appropriately, it could dramatically cut down the number of rescues requiring NSR volunteers.