On Sunday, over 100 people went on a brief hike to enjoy a waterfall in Oregon. Some hiked in bathing suits, other trail runners planned a quick dip. A wild fire started by a 15 year old without a fully developed frontal cortex playing with fireworks. (He didn’t think about his actions.) Suddenly over a 100 people couldn’t access the trail back to their cars. They had to hike out the other way. A veteran and medic had people number off and had the strongest hikers go in front and back. If someone needed assistance the group would stop. Sparks ignited plants on the trail and people put them out with water bottles. A forest ranger hiked in to meet them. Darkness fell, the temperature dropped. The group stayed at a waterfall for the night because of space and safety. Food and space blankets were dropped. The next morning everyone got a number on their hand because they would have a long, fast hike to get out. Fleeing the smoke and flames the entire group hiked to safety and was transported back to the trail head where friends, family, and cars were waiting.
A family from my town were some of the hikers. Only one hiker was prepared to spend longer than an hour on the trail. So even if you go for a short hike, take a flashlight, extra food and clothing, water, matches, first aid kit,space blanket and a map of the area. Good items to have in a car too.
My hiking group collected 84 pairs of wool blend hiking socks for the fire fighters to use that will be delivered by an EMT working the fire. Even when something awful happens, people can overcome it with acts of love and compassion.Morning on the Columbia River- Stevenson, WA looking toward the Oregon side- April 2017