Nov 2, 2009

Russia's Lost Mushroomers

It's that time of year again. Time to get out the hiking boots, hand-held GPS, and a thick coat -- not to find mushrooms, but Russia's lost mushroomers.

NYTimes: "Russians are passionate about gathering mushrooms, an ancient pastime they call the 'quiet hunt,' and routinely become so hypnotized that they get hopelessly lost. Regional search-and-rescue teams fan out on foot or in helicopters, occasionally enlisting tracking dogs or parachute jumpers, and newspapers retell their stories with gusto."
In Kaluga alone, authorities have already held 21 searches for missing mushroomers. Seven survived, five died, nine are still missing and presumed, well, sometimes the bears "so thoroughly bury the remains of a body that 'we will never find anything,'" said rescue team leader Aleksandr Zmanovsky.