Woods Lovely, Dark, and Deep: Stay the Hell Out

[Update 12/7/06: According to various media reports (for instance, one today in the San Francisco Chronicle), the Oregon State Police now say that the story recounted below about the family getting the map at the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce is false. I called the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce to hear what they have to say; they’re standing by their story that the Kims were there; I’ll write more about that later.]

More on the search for James Kim, the CNET editor lost in the mountains of southwestern Oregon (his wife and two daughters were rescued Monday). Today’s drama is around items of clothing (and pieces of a map) that he might have left as “breadcrumbs”–either to aid searchers or (a possibility I haven’t heard raised) to find his way back along the route he took. Without dwelling on what might have befallen him did befall him (tragically, he was found dead earlier today), here’s a telling passage from CNET’s story today:

“The Kims were warned that the Bear Camp Road was dangerous this time of year when they stopped into the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce about 20 miles south of Portland, Ore., on November 25 around 1:30 p.m. PST, Mark Ottenad, executive director of the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday.

“The employee working that day gave the Kims a copy of the Oregon State Department of Transportation highway map, Ottenad said.

“James Kim ‘asked what would be scenic road and she highlighted the Agness-Galice Road, but cautioned against trying to travel on that road this time of year,’ Ottenad said. ‘Instead, she recommended staying to the main roads–Highway 38 or Highway 42,’ especially as it was late in the day and it would be dark soon. ”

I suppose you have to make allowances for people at the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce trying to cover their asses (what if they really said: “It’s a beautiful road! You’ll enjoy it!”?). With James Kim still lost, people are keeping their hope for alive by talking about how resourceful he is. If he ignored a warning like the once described in the CNET story, I can think of some less flattering descriptions of him.

(And also: Talk about taking advantage of an advertising opportunity, here are some links at the bottom of the CNET story:


Of course, these are supposed to be “smart ads” in the sense that they’re related to keywords in the Kim story and automatically generated. Also remarkable: The mix of blame and backbiting in the reader discussion attached to the CNET story.)

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