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SAR--in real life

While I was meeting and greeting hikers at the Twin Lakes Trailhead on Thursday, a woman came hiking out and greeted us with the news that there was an injured hiker on the trail. Someone had sprained an ankle and was unable to walk.

Before I could spring into action, she noted that the hiker had been able to use a cell phone to call 911, and had spoken to them. A rescue team was on the way and other hikers were there to monitor the injured hiker, and provide water and food as needed. Everything seemed to be under control.

Desolation Wilderness is full of all shapes, sizes, and configurations....

Which it was. Less than an hour after the call to 911, the first Sheriff's deputy arrived at the trailhead, and we chatted briefly--I told him what I knew. In the next hour another deputy and eleven Search and Rescue team members arrived, complete with a mobile command center. The real miracle of the day was that they all found parking at this very busy trailhead.

The first four SAR members loaded up their packs, and a few minutes later I heard the command center confirm that four team members had all the gear they needed and were on their way.

Within forty-five minutes, another six or seven SAR team members hiked out to help, and within two hours of requesting help, the hiker had a team of SAR experts at their side, and another six on the way.

Not bad for a fairly remote trailhead in the wilderness.

I left soon after that--I had been on the trail at 7 a.m. that morning, and it was time to head home. But the command center was calm. They knew what they were doing, and everything was under control.

But I couldn't help wondering: twelve SAR team members plus two Sheriff's deputies for a sprained ankle...

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