This weekend I drove out to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma with some friends. It’s a beautiful park with stunning views and a cozy campsite. Our group consisted of 4 humans, 3 dogs, and a lot of camping gear, but I convinced everyone we could fit in one car.
We got off to a late start, which meant we hit Dallas’ Friday afternoon traffic… turning a 4-hour drive into a 6.5-hour drive. To make it worse, 15 minutes in the air conditioning stopped working. We stopped briefly to add some kind of air conditioning gas, but that didn’t fix the problem. We drove the rest of the way with the windows open in 95 degree heat… with dogs on our laps… and were soaked in sweat by the time we got there. Oh well – I can’t say I didn’t expect to get sweaty on a camping trip.
Saturday, we hiked up Elk Mountain, which had stunning views of the river & valley below. It was less than 2 hours to the top, where we stopped to eat snacks and look at the scenery. In fact, I looked at the scenery so much that I forgot to watch my feet, and ended up slipping on a boulder and twisting my ankle.
It hurt, but I just assumed I could wrap it and slowly make my way back down the mountain. But as soon as I stood up, I felt nauseous and started to black out. This was bad news. And it looked like it wasn’t just a twisted ankle after all.
After another 10 minutes I couldn’t even sit up straight without passing out. We had no choice other than to call for help. It took the EMT’s 1.5 hours to get to where we were, during which time (a) we all got sunburned, and (b) my normally fit, active dog decided he was done walking and needed to be carried. The EMT’s were awesome and couldn’t have done a better job. They immediately diagnosed a torn Achilles and air-lifted me off the mountain. I can’t help feeling like my foot was undeserving of all this attention, but there was really no other way to get me down the mountain.
The pilot and EMT’s were all extremely nice and comforting, and really on top of their game. I am so thankful that people like that are out there.
It was my first helicopter ride, and while not the ideal situation, at least I was conscious for it. Flying out over the mountains was beautiful. In fact, I’m pretty impressed with what a cool job it is to be a pilot.