If you intentionally own two or more pairs of Running Shoes, then you probably know who Caballo Blanco is. Caballo Blanco is the nickname of ultra running legend Micah True whom went on to become the mystical central figure of Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to Run”.
Micah True lived a life without materialism and in pursuit of passion. With the decision to eschew a normative American life he developed a bit of a following not unlike that of Christopher McCandless. For a man who lived a fairly private life this lead to complications but also the ability to use his celebrity to further causes he cared about, like protecting Copper Canyon in Mexico. Unfortunately, just as he spend a large portion of his time running alone through the mountains his life would end the same way.
On May 27, 2012 True left the Wilderness Lodge in the Gila Wilderness, part of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, for a 12-mile run. After he failed to return to the lodge a large search and rescue operation was launched in an attempt to locate him. On March 31st, after searching a 200,000-acre area, they finally found his body alongside a stream. True had died from complications related to a heart disorder.
Could True have been saved? That is something we will never know, but what we can learn from it is the importance of notifying people as to where you are.
When I was younger I used to go solo hiking all the time, and I would often write up my where I was and my proposed route and when to contact help if I had not returned. I would then tape it to my roommate’s door and begin my adventure. Fortunately I never needed assistance but at least rescuers would not waste valuable time searching other areas.
Aron Ralston famously gave a vague description of his weekend itinerary in Utah and found his arm pinned under a boulder in a canyon. While searchers looked elsewhere, Ralston was forced to cut his own arm off to escape the predicament.
Today it is even easier to let people know you need help. There is a great app called Bugle. This app allows you to put in your important information, such as where you are going and when you plan to return. If you do not check in with the app in time it will automatically send alert notifications to your emergency contacts telling them they should check in with you and where you said you would be. The app is free so there are no excuses for an adventurer to not use it.
So unless you enjoy drinking your own urine or you’ve always wanted to attempt a major surgery on yourself, tell someone where you are going.