A miraculous event

May 6 was a beautiful Saturday to take my annual spring wildflower hike in Hells Canyon, a trip I have taken alone, and with Scouts and with Meg many times since 2014. No one was able to go with me, so I started out in anticipation of a routine hike. The pictures below were taken in previous years:

Hells Canyon, Wallowa County
Hells Canyon, Wallowa County
Hells Canyon, Wallowa County

The “routine” changed suddenly as I bent over to remove a couple of noxious weeds, I lost my balance and rolled sixty five feet down a seventy degree slope. A large boulder stopped my descent. I did not lose consciousness nor go into shock, even though I knew my neck and right foot was injured.

I had to move as I knew I was not visible. I took my red jacket out of my day pack and put it on, so I would be visible. Slowly I pulled myself up the steep slope. There were no ledges where I could safely stay without rolling down again. A voice from across the river called out and asked if I needed help. I shouted back, “Yes.”

I made it back to the trail, and sprawled out, grateful that I could relax .Shortly afterwards, Scouts and adult leaders from Troop 77 of Eagle ID, arrived and stabilized my neck and foot and administered first aid in a very competent and efficient manner. With a SAT Phone, they notified search and rescue and medivac. A jet boat with a backboard arrived. They strapped me in, took me carefully down to the jet boat, then to a campground where an ambulance met me. From ambulance to a helicopter landing site to the trauma unit at St Alphonsus Hospital in Boise.

I had prayed that the Lord would send me His angels, and He sent me Scout Troop 77. With forty years in Scouting myself, it was exceptionally reassuring to be taken care of by these well trained Scouts.

I was diagnosed with a broken C1 and C2 in my neck–another miracle that I was not killed or paralyzed by this fall. Also my right foot and tibia plateau had breaks. Sunday I had surgery on my neck, and Tuesday surgery on my right leg. Healing and reahab in Boise went well, and I have been home since the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. I am very grateful for the fine nursing services in both the St Alphonsus trauma center and rehab facility. I could not have wished for anything better.


Troop 77 administering first aid
This is the general terrain where I fell, except there was far more scree and no boulders or bushes to stop me.

St Alphonsus trauma unit