Monday, July 7, 2008

The Drowned Girl

No, it didn't happen, thankfully, but it could have...

My 17 year old son, Trevor, just got back from the "hike from Hell". His Boy Scout Troop goes on a 50 mile backpack every summer and last week they visited the Gila Wilderness in southern New Mexico. I really wanted to go with them. (I've been on one already, but this time I had to take Annie to the vet.) I told Trevor that because I wasn't going he could really have fun; he wouldn't have to take care of me. ;)

Anyway, they left last Sunday, drove down there and started hiking in. There were 5 adults and 8 boys ranging in age from 12 to 17. On the second day, one of the adults tripped and fell on one of the many river crossings. She fell face first into the stream and hit her head on the rocks. The buddy system is followed in scout hikes so someone was there to immediately pull her up and out of the water. She was very bruised up but she seemed okay otherwise, no blood, until she blew her nose. Then the area around her eye just blew up. Because she had so much pain they decided she should go back to civilization. The adults and boys rallied in support. Some carried her pack, others hiked back to Mogollon, the nearest place with phone service to call for her ride from Albuquerque, and some remained at base camp. The boys guided her, eye swollen nearly shut, back down the 10 miles to the beginning of the trail. She and her son were then picked up by her husband, who had not gone on the hike, and they went to the hospital in Silver City. Diagnosis- she had a broken eye socket and needed to see the doctor in Albuquerque for more treatment.

Everyone gathered again on the third day at base camp, the same place as the accident, and one of the adults came down sick. He decided not to continue, so he and another adult and son hiked back to Mogollon to call for a pickup back to Edgewood.

The 2 men and 6 boys continued on into the Gila. The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful after all the excitement of the rescue: crossing streams, trudging up mountains, looking at stunning vistas, seeing lots of elk, and fishing for trout. They went swimming in a beautiful, secluded water hole that was so cold the longest anyone stayed in was 2 minutes. They explored a hole and walked through stinging nettles and poison ivy. They set up camps and cooked meals and talked, as boys do, and had a thoroughly satisfyingly good time. And the 8 Scouts that came out at the other end earned bragging rights for completing over 50 miles in the Gila Wilderness!

What an accomplishment. I am proud of them all. Even the ones who did not finish the hike earn my admiration for their courageous attempt.