We all love nature, and we all love national parks.
The sound of the wind through the trees, the river flowing, the birds chirping, the bears stealing from the picnic basket...
Mother nature is a beauty, and she knows it very well.
But as beautiful as she is, she is also a dangerous one.
Every year hundreds of Americans mysteriously disappear in the wild.
The classic risks such as drowning, falling from peaks, being eaten by wild animals are common.
Fatalities involving people going missing vanishing in thin air is a more insidious phenomenon starting to gain recognition in the US.
The Nation’s silent mass disaster.
Every week, an average of six people die in the wild.
More than 600,000 persons go missing in the United States every year, and some 1,600 in wildlands, according to David Paulides of the North America Bigfoot Search.
According to NamUs (National Missing and Unidentified Persons System), more than 600,000 persons go missing in the United States every year. Anywhere between 89 percent to 92 percent of those missing people are recovered every year, either alive or deceased. Neither the Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Park Service nor the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service keeps track.
About 70 percent of those who go missing in the woods are men between their 30 and 50.
And they are Bigfoot hunters.
People will go missing in the wild, in remote forests and mountain ranges all over the world.
But it is America, that has a higher percentage of mysterious disappearances every year than anywhere else on earth.
The majority of those who vanish are males between the ages of 25 to 45. They are fit and dressed adequately, well prepared for their travels, yet this does not seem to matter when they disappear without a trace.
The vast majority of those who vanish in the US are hunters and outdoorsmen who were skilled at spotting threats and surviving harsh conditions.
A lot of them disappear because they encounter a creature that is more than they bargained for.
It is not every day a hunter and outdoorsman dies while hiking in the woods, yet that is what happens from time to time in the National Parks.
1600 people are still missing.
In 2011, David Paulides, founder of the North America Bigfoot Search, also known as NABS, from Sunnydale, California, launched a database of wildland disappearances that occurred under mysterious circumstances.
In this database, there are at least 1,600 people currently missing in the wild in the United States.
Unlike hikers and runners, vanished cyclists are rare.
But it happens.
The case of Jacob Gray, the biker in Washington Olympic National Park.
In April 2017, Jacob Gray rode his bicycle during a rainstorm into Washington Olympic National Park and vanished into thin air.
He was only 22 years old when he went missing.
His camping gear and bike were discovered close to Sol Duc River, but no other traces of him or his remains.
Several months of search-and-rescue missions uncovered nothing, and he is one of those mysterious circumstances we mentioned before.
Jacob had gone missing on a 30-mile ride and then later another nine miles into the wilderness.
He was born in Santa Cruz, California, where he grew up surfing, and so he was fit at the moment of the tragedy.
He was also a great fan of outdoor trips, and it was not the first time he was going solo on a bike trail.
His body was recovered over a year later, on Friday, August 10, 2018, in the late afternoon.
A team of biologists who made a trip into the mountains to study marmots found Jacob’s remains, clothing, and personal items, near the top of a ridge above Hoh Lake.
Jacob was at least 15 miles from where he left his bike.
The official cause of death was inconclusive because the body was identified through dental records.
An autopsy could not be performed.
But it keeps on being a mystery as, on the scene where the body was found, he had cigarette lighters, plenty of food, and insulated clothing.
His dad, Randy Gray, commented that he believes that Jacob succumbed to hypothermia as no signs of trauma were found on his poor remains.
So the next time that you plan to go out in the wild, remember to be careful and plan your trip accordingly to your capacities, weather conditions and stay on the trails.