Solo Adventurer's Peril: Ankle Sprain Strands Hiker in Remote Wilderness
Posted on January 26, 2024 by Rachel
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.
H647+PH Olivine Hut, Jamestown 9382, New Zealand
Local Search and Rescue
ResQLink™ 410 RLSGo to product details
- 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