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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> From Steve Davidson – Heartfelt Thanks!
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08/13/2006 04:04:28 PM · #1
I’m back and in good health. I’m amazed and deeply humbled by the incredible outpouring of concern and caring for my well being. I’m grateful to each and every person involved in the search. I’m completely overwhelmed by your efforts made on my behalf.

First, I want to thank my family - especially Orion my son (fas-ligand on DPC) and Iva my sister - for their tireless efforts trying to locate me. I could not have a better family. I can’t imagine the worry they must have went through.

No amount of words can express my, Iva and Orion’s appreciation to Tina (tfaust) and Daryl (louddog) for opening their house and hearts to us and for their generosity and incredible energy put into the search.

Also, I want especially to single out DPC friends and others who played major rolls getting out information and organizing the search. Terry Gerdts (TerryGee) for sounding the alarm, Paul Wolterbeek at Boyce Thompson Arboretum for making the media connections that allowed the story wide publicity, my many DPC friends here that went on actual searches; Susan Strom (www.lightninglady.com) who publicized it among her storm chaser groups and at DesertUSA and went on personal searches herself, and Ryan Anderson (SecurityMonster) for consolidating known information at a single online source. There are many, many, many others I’ve overlooked who contributed in a wide varieties ways.

And, of course… DPCers here expressing their caring, concerns and suggestions. You are wonderful people. Even my family used DPC forums for distributing news and information.

In a metropolitan area as large as Phoenix many people go missing every day and are, at best, back page news filler unless they are celebrities or prominent citizens. It was front page news in at least one prominent paper here and TV news stories were on most stations. There was even TV and newspaper coverage in Oregon where I am from. Only the persistent efforts of my family and many friends can turn something like that into a media story.

I’ll never be able to thank all of you enough for the time, effort, resources and tremendous caring expended for my safe return.
08/13/2006 04:06:43 PM · #2
Everyone, myself included, is just ridiculously glad to see you back. Happy endings rock! :D
08/13/2006 04:06:50 PM · #3
What happened???... THE STORY (abridged version)

Originally, my intention was to go on a 1 day photo safari to think about life issues and take pictures in a beautiful little canyon called Fish Creek on the eastern side of the Superstition Mountains. Photo outings are always relaxing. I was alone.

I made the hike but did not finish my complete itinerary. Instead of returning immediately I made a slow progression back and made many stops along the way and going on numerous hikes that stretched into many days. I had informed no one but felt I would not be gone long enough to be missed.

A fateful night was, I believe, July 30 where I stopped just outside Apache Junction. A good thunderstorm was brewing and I hoped to catch some lightening images and return home. I was going to ask Barbara Wilson (CreateForMe) to take pictures but thought better of it because of the lateness of the hour.

Goldfield Ghost Town... ' . substr('//www.pbase.com/image/28467320/small.jpg', strrpos('//www.pbase.com/image/28467320/small.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I rested and waited. Later, I drove a short distance to Goldfield ghost town that sits on a bluff and felt it would make a perfect foreground silhouette for lightening bolts from the approaching storm. The storm had not yet arrived so I decided to explore the possibility of close-ups of some on the interesting buildings and structures on the property. So I sneaked up and walked about checking out the possibilities. That took about 20 minutes.

That is when my car was broke into!

All my camera equipment and other miscellaneous things were stolen after gaining access by smashing the passenger side window by person or person’s who obviously knew what they were doing. He (they?) were fast, efficient and quiet. I heard and saw nothing.

Instead of doing the logical thing, like immediately reporting the crime or driving straight home, I drove my car a short distance into the desert and purposely parked it in an isolated spot. Why, you ask? I don’t know. I was upset and just did now want to be near people. I know… bad decision… I’m strange.

To compound the problem my car battery chose, without warning, that moment to die and was completely disabled with the electric windows DOWN.

Superstition Mountain...' . substr('//www.pbase.com/image/38599372/small.jpg', strrpos('//www.pbase.com/image/38599372/small.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

That led to a series of mind searching hikes. One included an aborted attempt at the difficult climb to the top of Superstition Mountain up the Siphon’s Draw trail. Then a hike north into an uninhabited area between Usury Mountain and the Four Peaks Wilderness resulted in… I got lost!

It is not even that large an area. It is embarrassing. I never get lost.

I wandered alone for six days and nights over craggy hills and through ravines and washes under hot summer conditions. I had started without food or water. I was able to find a discarded container to collect pooled rain water from monsoon storms that was used for drinking, washing clothes and bathing (Tina may disagree about the bathing part). Even before being lost I had been eating prickly pear fruit and an unidentified sprout-like ground plant with two delicate fleshy leaves that had a small parsley-like stalk, so I got both fruits and vegetables every day. I got exercise walking 4-7 miles daily, much over the same terrain, I’m sure.

Prickly Pear Fruit...' . substr('//www.pbase.com/image/41807740/small.jpg', strrpos('//www.pbase.com/image/41807740/small.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I eventually found my way back down to Goldfield ghost town. That is where I got my first hint of a massive search for me. When trying to justify to a proprietor that he should allow me to use his phone to make some calls, he looked quizzically at me and asked, “Are you that ‘missing’ guy? I saw a ‘wanted’ poster for you down at the Dash-In.” The “Dash-In” is a dusty mini-mart down the Apache Trail highway. I answered, “I don’t think so but I have been out of human contact for a while.” When he went and got some cold water for me to drink another guy followed him back wanting to see ‘that lost photographer guy’, I knew something was up.

A Pinal County sheriff sergeant soon showed up, asked a bunch of questions, made some calls and, despite my protests, decided to call paramedics and an ambulance and take me to the hospital for a checkup. I was perfectly capable of leaving on my own! I wanted that.

The EMTs started heart monitoring and other things. They found an irregular heartbeat. I have a significant heart condition and that symptomcan be caused by blockages in arterial arteries so that was a concern. It can also be caused by low electrolytes due to outdoor exposure. All other indicators were good.

I was put on IVs for about 4 hours or so, was ambulanced to hospital, the heart irregularity disappeared and they later kicked me loose. The doctor and one nurse that I’m aware of knew about me as ‘that lost photographer guy’. Nurse said she’d heard I fell in a mine shaft. No way! Even I’m not that uncoordinated.

Tina and Daryl were kind enough to collect my dilapidated, scruffy, tattered body (I thought I was in great condition all things considered) and took me to their place. After only a mere hour and a half of continuous scrubbing and an hour shaving off the ugliest scruff of facial hair you ever did see (It fit right in at Goldfield), I was almost human again.

Some have expressed great surprise I was able to survive alone in the desert for so long starting without food or water under harsh desert conditions. It is true people die here in the Sonoran desert summer every year due to exposure in much less time.

Though it is unusual to be lost that long, it is not that difficult if you are in decent physical shape, use common sense, understand a little about the desert, think up creative ways to take advantage of the environment and know your limits. In the old west it probably was a common to do what I did.

At no time was I in any serious physical danger because of exposure and, though lost, never once believed I would not find my way back. In fact, it never once occurred to me I would not. Though tired, I knew I was never far from civilization and that I’d eventually point myself in the right direction.

The sad part, from a DPC perspective, is... There is no photographic evidence!

This whole episode is more embarrassing than anything else. :)

Message edited by author 2006-08-14 01:06:34.
08/13/2006 04:09:52 PM · #4
Steve - I'm just so happy you are back - and safe! Welcome back

You had a scarey adventure, and had everyone here worried, but all that maters is that you are okay.

{{{hug}}}

Message edited by author 2006-08-13 16:12:50.
08/13/2006 04:14:09 PM · #5
Steve, I'd buy you a beer but it might not be too cold by the time it got to you from here in Australia. Your experience shows a LOT of sense after you got lost. I'll pass on commenting about the rest. I know you will learn from your experiences, it must be nice to know you have a lot of people here who care about you.

Dave
08/13/2006 04:16:20 PM · #6
What an ordeal!!! So glad your home safe!
' . substr('//emcsmileys.com/s/beerguzzle.gif', strrpos('//emcsmileys.com/s/beerguzzle.gif', '/') + 1) . '
Take one of these with you next time!! ;o)

Message edited by author 2006-08-13 16:22:36.
08/13/2006 04:19:49 PM · #7
Glad you are back & safe Steve!!

So did I read your story correct, your camera got stolen?


08/13/2006 04:21:59 PM · #8
Welcome home!

:)
P
08/13/2006 04:26:48 PM · #9
Thank god you are back...

Everybody stop taking pictures and ignoring my posts... It was like hell to me too...

I think I put your photos back to your portfolio, that I claimed my own when you were... (Cough)... gone...

So, if you find anything missing, let me know, maybe I forgot to put it back...

in seriousness, good to see you back. and next time... please carry a GPS with you ;)

Leo
08/13/2006 04:27:56 PM · #10
Due, Have you been taking classes at the Skiprow School of Storytelling? Riveting. Glad to have you back, friend.
08/13/2006 04:29:24 PM · #11
Well, Steve, glad you're back but it's a real bummer about your equipment being stolen. When this all started, I wasn't sure who this Steve Davidson guy was ... but then I found, hidden away in my bookmark folder, a link to your Pbase Desert Spring photos.

Ah, that guy!
08/13/2006 04:29:43 PM · #12
My first reaction after that incredible story too:

"Wow, his camera got stolen."

:-)

Welcome back big guy. I hope someone had the presence of mind to snap a photo of your scruffy mug!
08/13/2006 04:29:58 PM · #13
Wow! What an amazing story. I didn't post in the other thread because it was already clogged up with well-wishers. But you were in my prayers, for sure, and I followed the story like a ton of others (how many hits is that thread up to?? :o)). But let me chime in and say that I am really glad you are back and safe, even though I never met you.
I guess my next question is, did you have insurance for your gear? Since you are back and safe, should we now organize a search to find the punk(s) who broke into your car and stole your stuff? We could then teach them a good lesson, DPC style. :o)

If you ever come up to Buffalo, let me know! We'll go get some of the best chicken wings in the world, and believe me, you'll NEED a few beers with them!

Take care,

-Don
08/13/2006 04:32:35 PM · #14
Man oh Man!!

Glad to see you are alive and well. WHEW
08/13/2006 04:32:59 PM · #15
(Er.. was it intentional that the first post in this thread was posted at 4:04?)

So very very glad this story had a happy ending. Thanks for sharing the story of what happened to you - it makes me appreciate just that much more how glad I am that you are safe.
08/13/2006 04:34:11 PM · #16
Welcome home, Steve, I am so glad that things turned out well for you, considering.
08/13/2006 04:35:34 PM · #17
Welcome back Steve! Hopefully you have insurance on your camera?

08/13/2006 04:36:21 PM · #18
You probably don't know me, but I'm so glad to hear from you again here on DPC! I've been worried too, even though I'm on the other side of the world..

What a story to tell.. glad you're ok and great to have you back Steve..
08/13/2006 04:37:58 PM · #19
excellent story ... we wanna write a script and make a movie with that !

nice work, pitty for the gear but most importatnt that you are okay.

/greetz from croatia
08/13/2006 04:38:05 PM · #20
Welcome back Steve. We are so glad that you are ok and we are all glad to hear what happened.
Did your cell phone die on you? Is your car ok after all those days? I certainly hope you have insurance to cover the cost of all that equipment that was stolen. I know how much that would hurt.
08/13/2006 04:39:33 PM · #21
Welcome back!

Sorry about your car and equipment, but it sounds like you had time to accomplish the thinking you set out to do.

... so, how about a description of the pics on the equipment that was stolen? Just how spectacular were they? :P

Sounds like a lot of fun ... perhaps under different circumstances.

David
08/13/2006 04:41:27 PM · #22
So glad you are home and safe and in good spirits (minus the whole stolen equipment thing). Of course, you know you had everyone worried sick! But what a wonderful ending. :) Welcome back to civilization Steve.

The desert being what it is, I'm sure you probably had some magical moments out there, just you and nature. At least I hope you did. Especially since you were able to keep your wits about you and your fears of being lost at bay. Again, welcome home. :)
08/13/2006 04:51:52 PM · #23
Steve, I'm just so very glad you're back in one piece. Good thing you knew how to get along in the desert.

So sad about all your camera equipment being stolen. I hope your insurance will be able to replace it, but if not, I hope we can figure out a way to get you back with a camera soon - you need one.
08/13/2006 04:52:44 PM · #24
It's good to have you back Steve.
08/13/2006 04:53:10 PM · #25
Welcome back.

If you're going to go out wandering again, especially in isolated areas, get a GPS unit and use it. It would have saved you from a lot of wandering and unintentionally spending your nights out of doors. I know my GPS has saved my behind several times.

Oh yeah, it's always a good idea to tell someone where you're going and when you're planning to be back.
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