For Californian Bryan Hall hiking and backpacking are part of his lifestyle. A SPOT X owner for two years, Hall was mostly using his SPOT device for tracking and checking in with family when out on solo trips.
On a recent trip, Hall set out with his daughter to hike the John Muir Trail from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney. A hundred and fifty miles into their trip, the duo were closing out their day in Le Conte canyon by rinsing off in the Kings river when his daughter slipped and fell. Bryan ran over to assist his daughter who was going in and out of consciousness, her shoulder dislocated, due to the fall. “It was so painful for her, she passed out before I was able to get her out of the creek,” Hall said.
Although familiar with first aid, Bryan wasn’t comfortable with the idea of resetting his daughter’s shoulder. “I activated the SOS on my SPOT X, and it made us both feel a bit better to know that help would be coming.” His daughter recalled that they had passed a ranger station earlier in the day, so Hall left his daughter with a two-way radio and headed out to find help. Hall was able to locate additional backpackers and sent them to locate the rangers. When the backpackers made contact with the rangers, they had already been notified by SPOT and were on their way to help his daughter.
The park rangers that came to their aid were both EMTs and were able to carefully reset the teen’s shoulder in 45 minutes. “They stayed with us for an hour or two and also helped to provide direction for getting out of the park which was a 12-mile hike over Bishop pass.”
For an active teenager, there was concern on how the injury was going to impact other aspects of her life. “At first she was really worried that she wouldn’t be able to play sports, but after a few months of physical therapy, she’s feeling strong and is back to running cross country.”
Looking back on the incident, Hall is grateful to have had his SPOT, saying “it provided huge peace of mind for us, to know help was on the way.”
The two are already planning hikes for next summer, “My daughter went through a very difficult experience, but she handled it amazingly well and came out okay. I worried that this might curb her enthusiasm for the backcountry, but on the contrary she feels stronger, confident and more empowered. She is ready to take on her next challenge.”