Big Bend Conservancy
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All the canyons in the state park drain to the Rio Grande. If I ever got lost in the southern part of the park, I would just keeping going downstream until I came to highway 170. In their case, when they were at Crawford Smith house, they were as close to the highway as they were to the trailhead. They could have just followed Fresno Creek.
I'm not experienced enough of an outdoorsman to cast much judgment on this couple although I do think I would have fared a little better in that I'm a little geeky about maps so I'm usually carrying something and I know how to use the GPS in my phone. However, for a day hike, I don't usually carry much extra water and often only an orange or a granola bar to eat. In short, in at least some areas, I am only prepared for a successful trip--not for contingencies.
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