Life is amazing. When you wholeheartedly put a desire out into the universe, it can sometimes come back in ways you’d never imagine. That’s exactly what’s happening now, and why I am delaying the kickstarter campaign one more week, in order to have a bigger launch. It seems life is magnetizing some key interviewees, co-producers, environmental groups, and other artists who want to spread the word when we launch. Thanks, universe!
In the meantime, here’s a story I’ve been meaning to share with you. I took the photo below on New Year’s Day, just before last light. I would have kept shooting a bit longer, but I faintly heard a voice in the distance coming from a ridge about half a mile away.
This is Devil’s Punchbowl near Agua Dulce, CA. Looking in the reverse direction from this view is a circle of oddly shaped boulders that form a bowl, giving the place its name. It’s easy to get lost here, even for experienced hikers, because of the varied terrain. I actually got lost here myself a while back, but was able to blaze a trail back to the main road before dark.
The voice I heard on this night barely directed my vision to what looked like a person about half a mile away on a ridge about the same height as the one I was on. It was a woman yelling to me for help. Luckily, I recognized that she was stuck in the same place I had gone through when I got lost. She wasn’t a seasoned hiker, and had two small dogs with her. It was now dark, she had no light, no jacket, no visible path out.
I told her to stay put while I tried to get to her though a technical gully, but it was too much without the proper gear in the dark, even with my headlamp, so I yelled to a nearby hiker to call the ranger while I brought my gear back to the parking lot. The situation was heating up… or cooling down you might say. She yelled to me that her dogs were shaking and cold, she was cold, hungry, tired and scarred. I think her internal survival instincts must have been kicking in with a little adrenaline and shock.
All my search and rescue knowledge from the Coast Guard came back all at once and I knew she could get hypothermia really fast, even without being in water. Coordinating with some kids’ phones (a whole other adventure in itself), we were finally able to find a signal sweet spot and get the Sheriffs to come out. Since I had exact knowledge of the place she was in, I agreed to go in with the search and rescue team when they were able to commit a helicopter to the scene. After a couple of unsuccessful fly by’s, I told the pilot to go in one specific direction for a half mile and shine his light down. If they had just used the map I drew from the start, she would have been found a lot sooner. It was amazing, actually. A person is freezing on the edge of a cliff in the dark, and us guys are standing around arguing over directions. Ha! Typical guys, I guess.
Anyway, they finally airlifted Laura and her two dogs to safety. I left feeling pretty good about New Year’s Day and the year ahead. I guess just as I mentioned at the top of this post, when you put a cry out for help, the world sometimes sends you someone close by to help you out.