A Hiker Rescue in the Sandias

On August 31 the Albuquerque Journal published a story about a hiker rescue in the Sandia Mountains. I’ll quote the article in full, because this time I want to comment on the story as well as the incident.

Two women rescued on La Luz Trail in Sandias


Three agencies took part in rescuing two women who were lost on the La Luz Trail overnight.


The two women, 29 and 59, got lost about three miles down the trail, APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said in a news release. They did not have lights, food, rain gear or water.


A couple initially found the women and gave them some supplies to continue up the trail. APD officers later found the women.


One woman received medical treatment at the Sandia Peak Tramway while APD, the Bernalillo County Fire Department and State Police Search and Rescue helped the other woman get to the top of the trail, Gallegos wrote.

This incident seems to be a classic case of individuals taking on a back country trail without the proper gear. Also, the La Luz Trail is rugged but it’s not difficult to follow, and they were found by other hikers—so I’m guessing that the proper description of their predicament is not “lost” but “they overextended their hike and got stranded.” Both the lack of gear and the overextension were avoidable mistakes. 


The story is interesting for another reason. When male hikers get into trouble, the headlines and associated stories usually refer to “hikers,” regardless of their level of experience. Here two female hikers got into trouble and the headline and story kept referring to them as “women,” not once as “hikers.” I’m reminded of the days when a bad male driver was referred to as a “bad driver,” while a bad female driver was referred to as a “woman driver.”