Hikers weren’t prepared for Oregon’s wilderness, but they did have a device that saved them.
The “underprepared” hikers, a 27-year-old and 22-year-old from Roseburg, planned to make the trek through the Boulder Creek Wilderness area on Monday, Aug. 15. Shortly after noon, they realized they needed help.
They pulled out their SPOT location device and sent an SOS signal to officials.
“The GPS coordinates from the SPOT device indicated the hikers were roughly in the middle of the Boulder Creek Wilderness area on the Umpqua National Forest,” the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
A search and rescue team rushed to help them. The hikers, however, were in rough terrain. It took rescuers over seven hours to reach the hikers.
When help arrived, the hikers were in stable condition but dehydrated, according to the sheriff’s office. Rescuers gave the hikers food, water and fresh clothing, and led them to horses waiting for them.
“Again, due to difficult terrain, downed trees, hazards and darkness it took approximately 7.5 hours for the rescue teams to reach the waiting horses,” deputies said. “Once at the horses, the hikers were led out by searchers on horseback.”
The rescue mission lasted over 19 hours, the sheriff’s office said. Everyone was out of the wilderness at 7:34 a.m.
A friend took the hikers home. Officials did not say if they had any additional injuries.
Deputies said the incident can serve as a reminder for all hikers to be better prepared by following these steps:
Be prepared with knowledge and gear: You should know about the weather, terrain and conditions of the area before starting your hike.
Share your plans: Someone should know where you’re going and when you plan to return.
Stay together: Groups of hikers should pace themselves with the slowest person.
Know when to turn back: If weather changes or you start to feel fatigued, turning back is always an option.
Plan for emergencies: Always carry equipment in case you have to spend the night in the wilderness. This can include food, water and shelter. Having a first aid kit and a knife is also a good idea.
Take a communication device: Cellphones alone won’t always work in an emergency. Many places in the backcountry don’t have cell service. A tracking device or personal locator beacon are good tools to have.