082 Rescued from the Trail with Shannon Cunningham

082 Rescued from the Trail with Shannon Cunningham

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While hiking the North Coast Trail on Vancouver Island this past summer, Shannon Cunningham, of Everett Washington, fell near a Ranger Station at Cape Sutil. She slipped on a mossy wood paver. Her feet slipped backwards and she fell forward onto her shoulder. Later she found out her fall had dislocated and broken her shoulder.

At first she thought everything was going to be ok, but she couldn't get up on her own and laid there for 10 minutes. There were two young ladies, Kora and Kristina from Germany, also staying at the same location, so she wasn't very worried about being alone. She started to yell for them and they were unselfish, helping her through this struggle. 

They came to her rescue! They retrieved her backpack for her so she felt a bit more secure with all of her belongings. Still not able to move on her own, she was contemplating her next move. She thought a Ranger was due to the Ranger Station, but nobody ever came.

The girls helped her eat, drink and attempted to put on a Sam Splint that Shannon had in her pack. Shannon has taken a Wilderness first aid course, so at least she was prepared.

Finally, just before 8PM, Shannon hit the button on her Spot device. This put a lot of actions into place. A call was placed to her mom who confirmed that she was indeed in the area where the Spot device was activated. Next, the local crews were notified and then assembled. 

Two hours after Shannon hit her beacon, the Canadian Coast Guard arrived at the Cape and came to land on a Zodiac boat. The two rescuers, Dale and Craig, helped her up, carried her into the water and lifted her into the boat.

We also discuss her family member, Karen, who lost her life this summer on Sauk Mountain. She was nearing the top when she misstepped and fell down the edge of the trail and hit her head. She was a very experienced hiker and a small trail accident turned fatal. 

Shannon's own small trail incident immobilized her. This could have easily ended a lot worse than it did. Her backpack was only 30 feet away and she was unable to get to it on her own. That is something to think about for solo hikers deep in the wilderness.

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