Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rescue 911 at Chinook Pass, Mt. Rainier National Park.

Bears Breast Mountain, no where near Naches.
The Naches loop trail is a stunning couple of miles winding from a meadow filled with lakes and tadpoles across an amazing stone bridge built during the CCC era and around Nache's peak with stunning views of high alpine Cascades with goblin trees, stunning wildflowers and water springing from the ground out of hidden chasms filled with clear cold snow melt.

'Enchilada Lakes' named by dbBrad. Several unnamed lakes up from Escandito.

Elizabeth and Steve, (82 and 84 years) have been hiking the northwest for many many years. Today was no different. Perfect weather with few people. As they neared the end of the hike, Steve stumbled on a root and literally dove off the trail. The trail is cut into a 60 degree slope of rock, wild flowers and stunted evergreens and is oozing with water nourishing the plants desperately trying to hold on.

Beautiful bridge restoration
at Mt. Rainier National Park.
Steve went head over heals over the edge displacing a flat basket ball sized rock with his head and coming to rest some 30' down the mountain.

Steve nearly back up on the trail
Along comes Debbie running down the trail to notify the park crew working on the bridge. I hear what I need to hear. At last a use for this 5 lb. first aid kit I've hauled across Washington. I run the half mile to where he'd fallen and help him climb up the hill where rangers and then paramedics buttoned him up for travel before wheeling him out on a unicyclecot with a big knobby tire suitable for the rough terrain and into an ambulance with an hour ride to Enumclaw hospital.

Debbie (Rescuer)
and Elizabeth
Steve and Elizabeth called me just the other day to thank me for my efforts and for crawling around on the hill for 20 minutes to retrieve their beloved Lumix camera. Such a nice couple and they plan to keep hiking. I think though that the incident was eye opening for Elizabeth, so used to Steve's companionship and with no family near by, that she realized her vulnerability. She had no keys, money, ID or purse and was very shaken by the incident.

As it turns out, I was waiting for my dad to join me on the trail when the incident happened and an extra passenger in the car with him and Susan (Susan's good friend, Carol) was able to drive Elizabeth down to the hospital to rejoin Steve. It all worked out great thanks to the rangers and crew of the bridge renovation.
From left to right, dbDad, wife Susan, friend Carol and dbBrad
enjoy a picnic before my dad and I departed for our 5 day outing.

A quick video of the entire story on YouTube PCT 2011 live coverage!

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