DEAR ABBY: Many years ago, my wife, our 2-year-old daughter and I went camping in a state park in upper Michigan. We were 15 miles from any town, camped near a nice little lake. One afternoon, I decided to walk in the woods and took my binoculars along. In just a few minutes I looked around and saw nothing but trees! I realized I was lost. Looking through my binocs, I located a patch of white, realized it was our laundry on the line and followed it back. But I had felt the panic of being disoriented.
A family with three small girls arrived at a camp in the mountains. Immediately, the youngest ran into the woods and others played around. Suddenly, they realized the youngest was missing and began searching and calling. No luck. She was out of earshot. Night fell and still no sign. About 100 rescuers searched into the night. The following morning, they found her under a log, very cold and tired. Think of the anguish of the parents and the cost of a search party!
Small children should have a whistle tied around their necks when they go on picnics and camping. That way, they can blow until rescued. There are many kinds of communication devices on the market that anyone going into the mountains, winter or summer, can purchase. Not long ago I read about a fellow caught in an avalanche who was able to direct rescuers to him because he had a walkie-talkie. A word to the wise ... WM. T. ELLIOTT, IRVINE, CALIF.
DEAR WM. T. ELLIOTT: The suggestion to supply a whistle for small children who are being taken camping is a good one -- and could avert many anxious moments. As to the reminder that high-tech devices can be lifesavers for adults going into wildlife recreational areas, one only has to recall the stranded climbers who have been saved because they remembered to bring along cell phones to know that they are great insurance.