A Bad Feeling And A Goodwill Gesture Saved This Hiker

When a woman encountered a tourist in the mountains, she had a feeling something would go wrong. She couldn’t explain what it was and tried to talk this stranger out of it, but failed to do so. That’s when she decided to take matters into her own hands

How It Began

The story began in Sultan, Washington, near Seattle. A beautiful, small town with an incredible scenery.

Photo: Courtesy of Videoblocks

It is truly a hiker’s dream, with a national park covering 2,700 square miles of glaciers and snow fields. However, it’s not as safe as it seems.

Nancy

Nancy Abell is one of the 5,000 inhabitants of Sultan, and knows the town like the palm of her hand.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

This is what made her save a woman’s life, who she encountered while walking in the woods.

First Meeting

As a keen outdoorswoman, Nancy decided to walk along Lake Susan Jane, where she met Katharina Gröne, a German tourist.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

The two quickly began to chat, and Nancy learnt something that gave her a bad feeling.

Katharina

Katharina left Germany to pursue her dream of doing a monumental hike.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

She started on the border of Mexico, and then followed the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which is a famous hiking route that goes all the way up the west coast.

Opening Up

Katharina told her story to Nancy and described her plans to her, to which Nancy eagerly listened.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

The PCT was no easy route, however. Katharina went from the Mexican border, through California, Oregon, and then Washington.

The PCT

Katharina’s dream was very ambitious, as the PCT winds for more than 2,650 miles of forests, national parks, and mountain ranges.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

The elevations rise to more than 13,150 feet, and the hike can take four to six months. Sounds like a lot for one person alone, doesn’t it?

No Walk In The Park

Going through that trail is no joke. It requires thorough preparation and a certain degree of experience.

Photo: Courtesy of Dissolve

As a solo traveler, Katharina had to follow remote trails for months without any help whatsoever, which took Nancy by surprise.

New Friends

Katharina had spent five months alone through her epic journey, so she was more than happy to meet someone and share her experience.

Photo: Courtesy of The Adventure Junkies

The two hit it off right away, and talked for a long time as they walked along the lake. That’s when Katharina revealed what she was going to do next.

Stevens Pass

Katharina told Nancy that her next stop was going to be Stevens Pass, which rang alarm bells for Nancy.

Photo: Courtesy of Powerlisting Fandom

As she was familiar with the area, she knew something wasn’t right about that place.

A Gut Feeling

Although Nancy had a bad feeling about it, she decided to give Katharina a ride to Stevens Pass.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

But what was the problem with the area that made Nancy so worried?

A Dangerous Road

The region’s weather patterns make it a very difficult area to hike through.

Photo: Courtesy of Wired for Adventure

Weather conditions can be extreme, and only those who are prepared should go there. Katharina had been hiking for five months, so why did Nancy think she’d be unprepared?

A Hunch

When CNN interviewed Nancy, she said “I felt like, being from Germany, she wasn’t familiar with the Glacier Peak wilderness area.”

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

Although she gave Katharina a ride, she told her about all the dangers that came with her plans, but she didn’t listen.

A Piece of Advice

The region creates its own weather, and it can be really bad this time of year. The whole two hours we were hiking together, I was trying to talk her out of it.” Nancy told CNN.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

No matter how hard she tried, it was no use. Katharina was determined to finish her journey, and that’s when things started to go wrong.

Giving Up

Nancy dropped Katharina off and went home defeated, as her efforts to convince her were in vain.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

But when she turned on her TV, she got even more worried.

The Forecast

According to the weather forecast, Stevens Pass was going to be covered in up to three feet of snowfall.

Photo: Courtesy of PR Web

A lone hiker in the mountains with that amount of snow? Something was bound to go wrong.

A Woman’s Intuition

I knew she didn’t have snowshoes and [that]she’d be up there by herself” Nancy explained during a press conference.

Photo: Courtesy of Ivy Marketing

I’d been through a storm in the same area and we couldn’t go anywhere for three days. It was terrifying.

Taking Action

Nancy knew she couldn’t just sit back and forget about it.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

That’s the reason why she decided to make the call that would ultimately save Katharina’s life

The Call

Nancy called the Snohomish County search and rescue team.

Photo: Courtesy of Videoblocks

Because she knew the area so well, she was able to estimate in what area Katharina would be at the moment, and told rescuers to go find her.

Fate

She was able to pinpoint Katharina’s location thanks to the conversation the two had.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

She was also able to describe her appearance and her equipment, which helped rescuers find her.

The Rescue

When she hung up, a rescue helicopter was deployed, and the search for Katharina began.

Photo: Courtesy of Newcastle Herald

After circling the area, the rescuers spotted something.

Following Leads

The rescue team spotted some footprints and the red jacket Katharina had been wearing.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Everett Herald

They followed the trail of clues, hoping they could locate her.

Lucky Find

They finally found Katharina in a clearing among tall trees close to the trail.

Photo: Courtesy of Videoblocks

But rescuing her wouldn’t be easy.

Dangerous Conditions

The weather was still very bad, and the ground was rough, so it was hard for the helicopter to go down.

Photo: Courtesy of Footage Framepool

The rescuers actually failed to do so a total of ten times, which made the rescue all the more urgent.

Emergency Landing

After an hour and a half, the helicopter was dangerously low on fuel.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

The rescue team only had a small amount of time to save her, and they had to act fast.

A Brilliant Plan

They almost had no fuel, they couldn’t land, and Katharina was freezing to death. What could they do?

Photo: Courtesy of notallnewsisbad.com

All of a sudden, Einer Espeland, the pilot, came up with a risky, but amazing idea to save her.

Risking It All

Einar literally jumped out of the helicopter, and stacked logs to build a platform to land on.

Photo: Courtesy of Ruffwear Blog

Then, they managed to get to her. But they found that she was in a terrible condition.

A Matter of Life and Death

The wind had whipped away Katharina’s shelter, her clothes were completely soaked, and she almost ran out of food.

Photo: Courtesy of ILLUMINATOR Run

Not only that, but she had no locator beacon to let people know if she was in trouble. Nancy’s hunch was right: she was unprepared.

Her Experience

I was screaming for help in the morning because I just had to get the fear out of me. I was screaming all the names I knew and I was just hoping that someone would react.” Katharina told CNN.

Photo: Courtesy of  Scribol

Fearing for her life, she recorded messages on her phone for her friends and family. “I informed my parents. I apologized for dying on the PCT, for risking too much.”

A Happy Ending

The helicopter brought her to the hospital, were she met Nancy, the woman that saved her life.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

If it weren’t for Nancy’s call, Katharina would have died. She told CNN,  “My faith in humanity? Definitely restored, so box-checked.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest