It’s been a while since I’ve updated our Hike We’ve Loved pages. It’s not because we’ve stopped hiking, it’s mostly because I forget to update. I’m planning to do some catch-up over the summer, including a climbing trip in Leavensworth, Washington, and a bit of hiking we’re going to do in Tahoe. But for this post I get to tell the amazing tale of heroics which ensued in early June, 2016 in central Oregon, along the trail which follows the Rogue River.
The tale begins in the morning after our family awoke in a yurt which we reserved through Reserve America, one of my very favorite websites on the internet. We arrived the previous evening, much after sunset and checked into our spot in the dark with only the bubbling water sound to clue us in to the beauty which would meet us with the new day. In the sun, we could see the towering canyon walls, covered in oak and evergreen trees. From our campground there was a boat launch site used by kayakers and whitewater rafters. Rob departed on foot for an 18 mile trail run, and the girls and I hung out on site watching the boats prepare for a launch.
What you see above is the scene of the morning’s tragedy. That red-sweatshirt girl, the carrier of my DNA, the girl who made me a mother, threw some rocks into the river. Just as one of those rocks departed from her delicate and loving hand, that smallest of daughters, that darling baby-of-the-family walked into the trajectory of the rock.
It was at this moment I had to decide if the injury was bad enough to require an emergency trip to a hospital, and I needed to decide quickly because we were in the Oregon wilderness with no cell reception. It would not be long before Rob was out of range of our walkie talkies.
Using my recently expired Red Cross first aid training, I went to work cleaning and inspecting the gash on her head. People on the campsite came running over to help out. We generally made a huge commotion, but in the end I decided that the wound was going to heal up on its own and I could let Rob continue on his run without coming back to help us.
But, an hour later it started bleeding again. And so I packed the kids up into the car and drove to the trailhead of the Rogue River Trail to hopefully get some walkie talkie coverage with Rob so we can get to the hospital for stitches.
It was not meant to be. After making a few calls on the radio with no answer I had just begun to worry. I pulled out our first aid kit and applied gauze and pressure. Then my deliverance came. A fully packed Subaru with California plates and dad/son hiking party pulled into the lot. I walked over to them and said, “Hi, you don’t happen to have some super glue?”
I glued the gash closed while a very sad little girl ate an entire clamshell of Trader Joe’s blueberries. The bleeding stopped. The dad/son heroes from Petaluma left on a 120 mile backpacking trip. My three girls walked over to the river edge just as the whitewater rafters from our campground 4 miles up the river pulled out onto the shore. “Hey, are you the family who had the head injury?!”
“Hope everything is alright.”
“Oh, it’s good. We found some super glue.”
We ate our lunch and hit the trail. The dry packed dusty trail rose to about fifty feet above the river and followed along the course for miles and miles. Given the very exciting events of the morning, I opted for quiet and leisurely over strenuous and exhausting. We sat down every few hundred feet to watch the rafters take a rapid or inspect some craggy outcroppings. We called out to Rob on the radio every twenty minutes or so until we got a response. He was on his way back, 18 miles or more under his belt.
I would like to go back and try this day again. We would bring day packs and more water. It’s very hot and the trail in rugged. I would hope no one gets a head injury on the second trip. The whole family could travel 8 miles into the wilderness, starting out at the earliest part of the day. We could stop and eat lunch, hang out and watch the river go by before turning back for camp. Then the next day, if we’re feeling extra brave, we could take a white water rafting tour down to the end of the river where a big lodge would be waiting for us with cold beer on tap and a huge dinner. That would be a different kind of success.
And probably not as good of a story.