I can't complain. Spending a summer afternoon deep in the Mt. Hood National Forest isn't a bad day of work. The scenery is incredible. But as a reporter, it is a challenging place to work. There is no email. No cell phone. And no Subway restaurant for lunch.
Today, we headed into the woods for a story about a missing camper. She'd been missing for four days. Typically, we can use Google maps to find our location. And we tried. But unfortunately, we didn't realize that the roads out here are rougher than your wildest amusement park ride. We're talking rocks, potholes, twists and turns. Not to mention, they aren't marked. Luckily, we ended up running into a park ranger. He admitted he was just as clueless as us. But, it was nice to know if we got lost at least someone with a badge might come looking.
The challenges only continued from there. Once on-site we couldn't get to the searchers. They were already miles into the rough wilderness. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to do a little hiking. But with a tripod, heavy camera and supplies we were in no condition to hike up and down trails looking for searchers.
The good news is while we were waiting with police the radio call came in reporting that the missing woman had been found. And here's where things really got interesting. Normally, we can call, email, text and tweet updates. When news breaks we hustle to get information to the public. So today, with no communication, I had to jump in the news rig (a well -traveled, but trust-worthy SUV) and drive up and down these rocky and unmarked roads looking for cell service. And I wasn't alone. Other crews had the same idea. It wasn't necessarily a race to get in front of a camera to report, it was a race to find cell service. I continued this routine as new developments surfaced. Driving back and forth to the one spot, high on a mountainside where I could get cell service.
In the end, we got the story. And yes, we were smart enough to pack a lunch for our day in the woods.