Matt woke me up about 6 and asked if I was OK. “Sure, except that you woke me up.” It seems that Kaleena had been very sick since about 1 a.m. and was not getting any better. We were about 9 miles from the truck, the last 4 of which were uphill the whole way. There is no cell service for a lot of this trek, but we happened to be in an area with Verizon service (though not AT&T). Matt talked to people in the closest emergency dispatch location about our options. Eventually the decision was made to fly Kaleena out via Coast Guard helicopter. Matt, Kaleena, and their two friends who were with us all work for the US Forest Service and Matt is has worked as a helispot manager so they were able to find a suitable landing spot and guide the helicopter in. As Kaleena wrote when she posted this photo, that blue lump in the foreground is her lying in the sand while waiting for the helicopter. Matt talked to the Coast Guard guys and sent me on the helicopter with Kaleena and both of our backpacks. That way he and his buddies and the dogs could make the 9 miles back to the truck more quickly. (Yeah, so I can’t keep up with a bunch of 30 year olds on a mission!) Kaleena and I ended up at a hospital in Eureka by 10:30 a.m. Matt made it back up the mountain in about 3 1/2 hours but still had a long drive to get to Eureka about 5 p.m.
This was an unfortunate ending to our trip, but it all ended up OK. Kaleena is fine now and I had a gorgeous view of the coastline and the mountains (and certainly less wear and tear on the body). We plan to do this again, but finish the trip differently!