June 27, 1987: Searching for Larry

Editorial note: This journal entry is posted pretty much as-is from 1987. I redacted the lost camper’s last name in the interests of his privacy. I decided to keep one word in describing Larry that I would not use today. No offense was intended by it. At the time, this word was a descriptor that was soon to be phased out as offensive in describing developmentally disabled people, but it was a pretty common word. To redact that from a journal entry would not be honest to how things were in 1987. Thanks.)

My, I’ve been getting rather spotty in my journal—haven’t I?

The past couple of days we added to our list of unscheduled events for the summer—this time search and rescue.

The victim was a 26-year-old retarded guy named Larry. There was a group of people here from a state hospital camped just down the road from us and Larry just wandered away from camp Wednesday night. Thursday morning we were called to the ranger station to join the search.

We ran into our ol’ friends from helitac—Hal, Frank, and the rest. Then we spent the next two days doing grid searches north of the Lyell Fork and several miles east of here. On Thursday Dave (Amaral) found an excellent clue (a print), so a dog team (Dog Team 3) was called in to check it out. The dog seemed more interested in chasing a stick than following a track. It seemed to us (Erin, Dave, Wayne, Tammi, and me) that our lead was just shined off. Later when we talked to one of the trackers, he explained that the dog had been shown Larry’s scent, and if the print had been Larry’s the dog would have followed it. By playing with the stick the dog showed us that it wasn’t Larry.

Larry was found Friday afternoon at about 13:00 hours. He was on Johnson Peak, the direction he was first seen to be heading, and in the opposite direction from where we found that print. A chopper found him, and he waved at it. He was safe and sound.

We got to do more on the search than on the fires, and I feel we contributed a lot more to something a lot more important than those silly smolders.

Categories: Backcountry, CCC, Search and Rescue, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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