Rescue In Snow Canyon

January 18, 2018

Rescue In Snow Canyon

Hiking in Snow Canyon, Utah, is great fun! But not when Search and Rescue have to carry you out of the Canyon on a stretcher! On Throwback Thursday, let me tell you the scary story of what happened to my friend and I when our fun hiking adventure turned into a near tragedy. One day in late November 2017, Linda and I set out around 3:30pm on a hike to one of the picturesque canyons in Snow Canyon State Park, near St. George, Utah.

Snow Canyon Rescue | C.A. Hartnell

On our way to the Canyon, we trekked over black lava rocks that littered the sandy trail. At one point, we walked along a ledge with a dry riverbed far below us. Colorful Fall trees at the Canyon entrance waved their leaves in the afternoon breeze. A creek gurgled nearby. We tramped along talking about what we'd do if we ever got stuck there after dark? And how horrible that would be! Late afternoon sunlight shone on the rock walls surrounding us. More than a mile into the hike, Linda stepped up onto a high place on the trail where she turned around, twisted sideways, then tumbled backwards head down into a crevice between two monstrous granite slabs! Her head rested next to a tall pointy rock that looked like a dragon's tooth! Luckily she landed in sand but unluckily her left arm looked knotty, bumpy and broken! We needed help!

In a panic, I scrambled up the boulder-strewn trail towards the end of the Canyon to catch up to a couple who had passed us earlier. I saw them in the distance and yelled for help! They came running. From a narrow path below Linda's head, our heroes and I helped Linda up from her upside down resting place. In excruciating pain and dizzy, she laid back on the nearby hillside. Our new friend gave Linda the shirt off her back for a soft splint while her boyfriend whipped off his belt for a sling. Then these Good Samaritans called 911 to send help. Once on her feet, we walked a shaking and nauseous Linda down the narrow, irregular path in the fading light toward the Canyon opening to wait for Search and Rescue.

Snow Canyon Rescue

At a wide area on the trail, a giant hollowed out rock bench became Linda's new resting place. Finally, about 12 Search and Rescue heroes arrived as the moon rose above the Canyon wall. Their team stabilized Linda's arm then got her ready for the mile hike out of there on a stretcher. A harrowing and slow trek in cold darkness, except for patches of flashlight circles on the ground, got us to the road and a waiting ambulance! After an evening in the hospital, I drove a splinted and sedated Linda across the dark desert from St. George, Utah, to Las Vegas, Nevada, to her anxious husband. John thanked me for bringing his "Blonde" back to him! Surgery a few days later fixed Linda's broken arm. (Did I mention we had hiked with few provisions?) From now on, we each hike with a walking stick and the following items in our backpacks: Water bottle; Fully-charged phone; Space Blanket; Forehead flashlight; Ace Bandage; and First Aid Kit.

Recently, Linda, our friend Dawn and I returned to the scene of the accident. We were astonished at how far we and our two heroes had traveled that cold November day down a very rugged trail to get Linda to safety. Linda and I are both very grateful to all those who helped us! God is good to send amazing heroes to rescue us in our times of need! Thank you everyone who helped us!

C.A. Hartnell - Snow Canyon Rescue in Utah with Linda Smith

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