Friday night we had the fantastic idea to hike up South Boulder Peak...at night. And by at night, I mean starting at 9:30pm and getting back...well whenever we get back. The trail is rated at "strenuous" and we had tried it once before (Danna, twice) but we failed to bring adequate water and food, so we thought we would have another go at it.
So here we are, all 7 of us,(plus Duke the dog), donned with headlamps on a basically moonless night, trudging off into "Cat Country" (Mountain lions). Exciting.
Everything went well. It was a nice cool evening. The pace started very quickly, but slowed even quicker when we arrived at the base of the mountain. From there it was a 1.2 mile hike and a 3,000 foot climb.
A little further up, Justin was startled by a strange man who gave us absolutely no warning of his presence. He had started hiking at 3pm that afternoon, had become lost, and now dehydrated, was heading down with light from his cellphone. We gave him a bottle of water and a flashlight (to be left at the trailhead) to aid his journey. He also mentioned that we may run into his buddy, who ran out of energy further up, and was sleeping on the trail.
So on we went.
About halfway up the mountain, Barrett and Cami became sufficiently exhausted to turn back around. But the rest of us kept climbing.
Up and up it went. It never seemed to stop. Here and there I would glance into the bushes, half expecting to see a random dude lying on a rock trying to grab some sleep.
At this point we're trying to conserve a little water to help this random person we were going to run into.
then it happened. Out of nowhere I heard a "HELLO??" And I knew it was him. But he didn't appear for another 5 minutes. Then suddenly I saw this guy, hair ruffled and covered in dirt, sitting up in the middle of the trail. He looked completely horrible, and asked for nothing but water. He looked worse than I had expected, so I turned to find Tami and Danna to grab my spare nalgene and an empty water bottle. We filled it full, and he chugged. He then told us that he had already called 911 and they were on the way. He also asked for a blanket, as he was visibly shivering.
The rescue team then called his phone, and he let Rachel, one of our friends and a nurse, talk to them. From then on if they called, Rachel would give them information and updates.
In the meantime, Tami have him dried papaya and we through all the clothes we had on him, and leaned against him to keep him warm. In the meantime, we gave updates to search and rescue every so often. Then they called and wanted someone to go to a clearing and see if we could locate their car, whose lights will be flashing. So down Justin and I went, about 200 feet down, until we found a giant boulder. We climbed upon it, and were presented with a view of the entire city. And way down below, a car with its lights flashing. So we flashed them back. Using our headlamps of course, and eventually they spotted us, and the car pulled away.
5 Minutes later we heard someone yelling for below, saying "Where is Rachel??" It was 1 man from search and rescue, and Justin and I led him up to where they were. From there the pros took over. Our victim, Nate, got up, and immediately threw up the water we gave him. (I had learned a few weeks prior, from the movie "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," that after being dehydrated you are supposed to slowly sip water). Unfortunately he blamed it all on my girlfriends papaya, which is incorrectly identified as apricot. Search and rescue wanted to give him and iv, but he refused it, saying that he would be ok to walk down.
So after 5 more guys showed up ("That was quite the hike, eh fellas?"), and we were questioned about the possibility of our dehydrated friends drinking more than they had said (uhh, probably) we headed up the mountain and left the pros do their job.
So we summited, had a great view of the city, then headed back down. Search and rescue and Nate had already headed down, and we never caught up with them. Though on the way down, we stopped, and someone said "uhh, wheres Duke??" Sure enough, the dog had dissappeared. This is not what I wanted to deal with, for it was now 230am and I just imagined the poor dog wandering around in the wilderness for days before eventually giving out and dying on the mountain. I didn't want that to happen. But Danna, his owner, was convinced that he had gone ahead of us to the car, and from my experience of losing dogs, "when they are lost, they go home." In this instance, the car would be home.
I was hoping she was right.
So sure enough, down at the base of the mountain, we crossed a small stream, and we noticed paw prints leading out of the water. There was a collective sigh of relief, especially when 20 minutes later, still a full 30 to 45 minutes from the car, Barrett and Cami called to say Duke had showed up.
So after that all went well. Got back to the car, back to the house, and into bed by 430. Just as Kelsie was getting up for work!