Solo Adventurer's Peril: Ankle Sprain Strands Hiker in Remote Wilderness

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Solo Adventurer's Peril: Ankle Sprain Strands Hiker in Remote Wilderness

Solo Adventurer's Peril: Ankle Sprain Strands Hiker in Remote Wilderness
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Hiking

Hiking

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Forest

Medical emergency

Medical emergency

Challenging Terrain

Challenging Terrain

Hiking

Solo Adventurer's Peril: Ankle Sprain Strands Hiker in Remote Wilderness

-44.443453340826°S, 168.214960855°E

Posted on January 26, 2024 by Rachel

What happened?

Off on a solo mission, I hiked the Hollyford-Pyke loop clockwise.

The preceding days had been delightful; the rivers were relatively low. A fantastic group of packrafters I met provided recent weather intel, warning of an approaching weather event the next day. However, they believed I could still make it out if I hurried in the morning and secured a ride across the lake.

Rising at first light, I had a pleasant surprise in the village at Big Bay – a resident handed me a steaming cup of coffee. We chatted, and he confirmed the impending weather, emphasizing that today’s walk would be challenging.

Navigating the overgrown track, I relished the challenge and the satisfaction of reaching landmarks. The Pyke valley felt magical, making me feel tiny and alone in the most beautiful way.

After overcoming the most challenging sections and crossing potentially dangerous rivers, I was cruising – theoretically less than an hour away from the next hut. However, an unnoticed hole under the brush and a loud pop led to a quick change.

My ankle was sprained, and my world was spinning. I had to take a second to overcome the strong feelings of nausea that overcame me. After a few minutes of recovery, I managed to hobble along with the help of a walking stick. It took nearly three hours to reach the hut.

Despite planning to tough it out, doubt crept in as my ankle swelled. Using my beacon for an ankle sprain felt silly, but considering my isolation and the approaching weather, I decided to activate my ACR ResQLink 410 RLS.

I was grateful to see the indicator light change, signifying my signal had been received, as I waited for local SAR.

They arrived in a helicopter approaching dark, assessing my condition and flying me to the ED in Queenstown. The efficient and amazing helicopter team assured me I did the right thing, noting, “You’re an awful long way from anywhere.” An overnight hospital stay and x-rays revealed a Grade 3 sprain.

I extend my thanks to the ACR team, local SAR, dispatchers, and the ED team at Lakes District Hospital.

Words of wisdom

Attempting to tough it out after injury can lead to a more dire, challenging rescue situation. Listen to your gut, bring your beacon, and use it when appropriate.

It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.

Tune your spidey senses accordingly.

Thank you note

Dear beautiful ACR team,

Thank you for making such lovely devices. The SAR team said my beacon was a ‘good one’ and the coords were ‘bang on’ – the correct side of the river and everything. My dad gave me my beacon as a gift, knowing how much I love solo adventures, and he sends all his best.

Rescue location

H647+PH Olivine Hut, Jamestown 9382, New Zealand

Rescue team

Local Search and Rescue

ResQLink™ 410 RLS

Go to product details

$429.95

Small but resilient, the ResQLink 410 RLS has been professionally engineered and tested to ensure it can withstand even the harshest elements. This buoyant Personal Locator Beacon requires no subscription for use and with the inclusion of the new Return Link Service (RLS) feature, this ACR beacon provides you with the comfort in knowing that your distress message has been received and your location detected.   Features and Benefits:  
  • No Subscription Required
  • Return Link Service (RLS) Functionality
  • GPS | Galileo GNSS
  • Built-In Buoyancy
  • Strobe and Infrared Strobe
  • Global Coverage
  • MEOSAR Compatible
  • Small and lightweight
  • 5 year battery life
  • 24+ hours Operational Life**
  • Multifunction Clip System Included
  **Based on test report from accredited laboratory   WARNING: PROP 65
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