Monday, September 21, 2009

A Fall at the Falls

I sit here decompressing after an eventful day. Our good friend Melody came out with her sister and her sister's husband and daughter. I took them on a very nice, quiet and uneventful ride.

It always worries me a bit when I take beginners out riding the trails. Our horses are safe, but they aren't saints, and any number of things can happen in the woods that you can't account for. As I lead a trail ride I try to seem relaxed and chatty, but I am constantly assessing the horses, riders and the surroundings. Just in case. Today's ride was great though. No problems. Everyone seemed well mounted and to be enjoying themselves. We rode what we call the creek crossing trail that passes near the water falls. When we got there it was decided that they would all walk down and take a look at the falls before continuing the ride. I tied up the horses, but opted to stay with the horses in case they had any problems. It was peaceful. I scratched ears and then sat down on a rock in the shade to wait.

Soon, I heard the group coming back and I was ramping up and going over how I would proceed to get everyone mounted again without the mounting block and thinking about possible things that could go wrong. All of a sudden I sensed a stillness, a pause, a break in the rythm of the walkers that were returning. Then the "oh, no!", "Jeannie's fallen!", exclamations began pouring out the trail. No word from the fallen. Not even a peep. My heart fell. I stood frozen, transfixed, afraid to look. But I hollered and they hollered back that it appeared she was fine. I hurried down the trail to see her at the bottom of an eight foot cliff that a small section of the trail traverses. She was at the bottom splayed out on the rocks with her family around her. She was in pain, but quiet. I then realized I had no phone. NO PHONE> how did I forget my phone? Luckily, my friend had her phone and it worked. I called Mark who, unfortunately, was no where near. He said he would handle the necessary phone calls. I then realized that mounting the horses was not going to be a problem and that we were going to need a vehicle, so I took off up the hill on Buddy to go back home to get the Land Cruiser.

Buddy tried to run up the steep hill for me, but the boy is out of shape and all he could mostly manage was a brisk trot. Good enough. Eric arrived at the house in his truck about the time I got there and I was so happy to see him. He is calm and capable and, since farrier school, he really knows anatomy. He headed on down to the accident site and I regrouped.

Eventually we had all sorts of people arriving. First on the scene was our own local Salmon Creek volunteer fire fighters. Thanks so much Lisa for hiking over in such a speedy manner. Seeing you coming up the creek took a huge load off . Then came the ambulance, with my hubby Mark in close pursuit. Then the fire crew, then the convict crew of about 15, then the helicopter. Amazing! It all came together and they got Jeannie semi comfortable with a little morphine, strapped to a board and then the convict crew carried her out. Everyone was great and it took a lot longer than I just made it sound, but still, we are out here in the middle of no where, and someone fell and all of these wonderful people came and a helicopter was able to land right nearby, in the middle of no where, on a grassy hill. Amazing. Crazy. And I had no camera either. My friend did though and maybe, later, when I can look at the photos I will post them. Maybe.

Right now Jeanie is in a hospital with a broken elbow, ankle and hip. Pray for her and her family. Thanks.


  1. Tamie this is a crazy story. Thank you for being so great to my aunt and her family. my dad told me and me heart fell glad everyone is ok essentially.I Hope this doesn't discourage you from beginner riders some things you just can't predict.Hope all is well

  2. Oh my gosh! That IS a crazy story. Will pray for her. Unbelievable that such a short fall resulted in such injuries. I know how she feels a bit right now.. when you said chopper ride with morphine.. same thing I got. I hope she recovers quickly, but from recent experience, it'll be a couple months :(
    Glad she's alive though!

  3. Prayers on the way TJ, for everyone. Emergency Services Rock! Sounds like you have a great group out there to rely on when things get ugly.

  4. I'm so glad she got out! Thank you for carrying my medical box the rest of the way up the trail! I was so glad to see the paramedics show up, I do get training from Kayce on a regular basis and have found her to be a wise and caring person. And who had my every confidence that EVERYTHING would be done to keep Jeanie safe. What a relief! That was scary! I have a photo

  5. I hope that all is well (and that she has insurance.) I know how expensive this all can be.

  6. Ouch. It sounds like everything that could be done was done and done well.

    Let us know how her healing goes.

    I agree with an earlier post -- don't let this stop you from trail guiding.


  7. Oh no and oh yea! How scary and terrible for all of you. Praise God she'll be OK. Aren't wonderful people wonderful??

    I love how you said "our horses are safe, but they aren't saints." Perfect! I so get that.


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