In the wilderness, one false step can make the difference between a delightful respite and a brush with death.
On a beautiful summer afternoon in 1998, Dan Stephens, a 22-year-old canoeist, was leading a trip deep into Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park. He stepped into a gap among cedar trees to look for the next portage—and did not return. More than four hours later, Dan awakened with a lump on his head from a fall and stumbled deeper into the woods, confused.
Three years later, Jason Rasmussen, a third-year medical student who loved the forest's solitude, walked alone into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on a crisp fall day. After a two-day trek into a remote area of the woods, he stepped away from his campsite and made a series of seemingly trivial mistakes that left him separated from his supplies, wet, and lost, as cold darkness fell.
Enduring days without food or shelter, these men faced the full harsh force of wilderness, the place that they had sought out for tranquil refuge from city life. Lost in the Wild takes readers with them as they enter realms of pain, fear, and courage, as they suffer dizzying confusion and unending frustration, and as they overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles in a race to survive.
Freelancer Griffith details the travails of two hikers who lost their way for several harrowing days in separate incidents in the Minnesota and Ontario wilderness and emerged alive and relatively unscathed thanks to the efforts of search-and-rescue professionals and volunteers. Hiking alone in a remote area with a changeable climate in October 2001, medical student Jason Rasmussen ran into trouble on the first day when he ventured onto a wrong path and became lost in dense forest. The hapless Rasmussen next lost a crucial map and eventually abandoned his tent, food, and hat and gloves as he tried to recover the trail. By contrast, young Dan Stephens was a savvy canoeist and guide who, in August 1998, on a routine search for his next portage, fell, hit his head and wandered away from the inexperienced group of Chattanooga Boy Scouts he was leading. Griffith writes lucidly throughout, but is more adept with flora than people, whose characterizations are bland. This doesn't have the scope and power of standouts in the adventure genre like Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild and will be best appreciated by Minnesota and Ontario wilderness buffs. Illus.