Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods

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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 ...

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Overview

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. 

“With admirable economy and a flair for suspense . . . [Griffith shows] how even well-prepared wilderness travelers can compound an initial blunder until they are in extreme danger—and what someone in their boots can do to increase his odds of surviving.”—Washington Post Book World

 

 “Simply good reporting, offering an absorbing read and material for thinking about ourselves and the wilderness.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

Cary J. Griffith is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about the outdoors.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. (Mar. 15) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873515610
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2006
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.95 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Cary J. Griffith is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about the outdoors.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2006

    Incredible Read!

    This book is a must for anyone serious about backpacking. I have been lost quite a few times myself in the wilderness and have never found a book that conveys the experience as well as this one. Cary Griffith does great tribute to the reality that is being lost in the wild!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2006

    How fast can things go wrong?

    This may appeal more to Northwoods adventurers, and may lack some drama, but it's an accurate and direct account of what can go wrong very quickly in the wilderness. There are no excuses offered for the mistakes made that got these two gentlemen lost, and no over dramatization of how they survived and 'got found'. Two very average guys who felt in control of their situation and environment until suddenly they were out of control. A good book for any camper or hiker.

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