Gone with the Wind

All together, and injury free we headed out from the trail angels house, well rested after a zero day. By now, we were far into Washington and the mountains only seemed to grow the farther north I hiked. Every day of hiking the total elevation change was over 10,000 feet. This made miles longer, but the climbs revealed vistas that made the aches and pains fade away.

High Alpine Meadow

While studying the map on the first night back in trail we discovered an alternate roof that would shave about five miles off the days hike. The alt was the old pct and the reason it was abandoned is that it requires fording one river and crossing a rather large river on logs. We decided to go for it and set off down the overgrown trail early in the morning.

When we reached the first river there was no way to get through it but fording it. Searching for the best spot to do so, we hiked upstream a little bit and ended up standing over a bee hive that had fallen from a tree. After noticing this, everyone jumped back but it was a second too late. Curry, the only person with us that is allergic to bees had been stung on her leg. She said she would be fine since it was not on her torso or neck so we hiked on eventually making it past both rivers.

A few miles after this, we stopped for lunch. It wasn’t until this point that we realized something was wrong. Curry was breaking out in hives and started to swell. The first signs of anaphylactic shock. As we discussed our course of action we realized we had passed some forest service rangers doing trail work earlier that day and ran back to talk to them. With their radios, they called in the problem. Next thing we knew, a helicopter was in route from Seattle. As we waited Curry seemed to worsen and was in her sleeping bag in the middle of a hot summer day. She was in pain and not very responsive.

Rescue Helicopter

Bee Keeper and I set out to find a place for the helicopter to land. We found a small swampy field in the thick Washington forest and called in our longitude and latitude to the helicopter.

A few minutes later we heard the sound of helicopter blades and waved emergency blankets in the air to signal our location. Unable to land due to the small field, a medic repelled down. The wind from the blades above us was so strong it challenged me to stand my ground. The medic ran over and began work on Curry, giving her a shot. Immediately after he harnessed her up and the copter pulled her up. Next he pulled himself up and as quickly as they came, they disappeared.

Helicopter Medic

For a moment we all stood there in shock at the event that had just happened. Without anything else to do though, we pulled on our packs and continued our hike.

Noel Nelson (pct mile 2568)

10 Replies to “Gone with the Wind”

  1. So thankful that Curry idol. Thank God for your quick action. Be safe and know that you are loved. Praying for traveling Grace every day. ❤️NannieC

  2. Prayers for Curry’s speedy recovery. So thankful that you were able to get the help you needed so quickly! We’re praying for a safe trip for you, Noel. The goal is in sight! Stay safe, and we’ll look forward to seeing you soon!!

  3. Man invents all this incredible technology… Why was it there to rescue this young lady when she needed it most? What if those rangers had called in sick that day or if they had been working a different trail? What if the communication system had been down or undergoing repairs or helicopter unavailable? What if they had decided to not hike on after the sting and thus would not have encountered those rangers? I believe all the prayers offered for Noel’s protection are also working for those around him.

    Thank you for writing about this and keep on keeping on…

  4. It’s so good to know that you all were quick on the decision to get Curry some help. The Lord is truly watching over you ALL and we are grateful! Praying for your continued protection and for the lessons you continue to learn.

  5. Nice work! It sounds like you guys made some quick decisions to help save her. Hope she has a quick recovery and can meet back up with you guys somewhere on the trail.

  6. God Bless you for being there at the right time. Yall were meant to cross each other’s path for this reason. Continuous safe travels for you and a speedy recovery for Cury.

    from SA

  7. I am a fifth grade teacher in San Antonio and my Reading class loves Noel’s story. They have written him some letters. Does anyone know how I could get them to Noel? I saw that his church and dad seem involved. Any address that would put them in Noel’s hands would be appreciated. Thanks all!

    1. Hey Rob! I am so sorry I am seeing this so late but yes I would love to get your kids letters! I am very glad they could read and enjoy my story. I am traveling in eastern Europe right now but I can give you my address or meet up with you when I return home.

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