Photo provided by story author.

Downfall

W S
PL

On 01/13/2018, I was hiking in the mountains with a friend. We weren’t very experienced, but the trek wasn’t difficult (the elevation about 6,000 ft). Near the summit, the snow became loose and deep, so we considered turning back, but a man we met on the way encouraged us to continue as it wasn’t much farther. However, after another 150 feet, we backed off. It was getting dark and cloudy. I was so tired that I squatted for a moment. When I moved, it was over.

I found myself sliding down at high speed, unable to stop. Finally, I came to a stop on my belly, 1,500 feet below. I had a bloody face, swollen hands, had lost my camera and phone, but was able to lie still. Happily, other tourists saw the accident. When mountain rescuers reached me, they said it was my lucky day as the place I stopped was “the last safe spot.” A helicopter transported me to hospital, where I learned my only injury was a broken rib.

The following day, someone called my companion (she had left her phone number in the mountain shelter) saying he’d found my camera. Surprisingly, it was the man we met near the summit.

On 04/13, I was in the same mountain resort when my sister called saying my phone had been retrieved and I should contact the finder. It was a local girl who spotted it while hiking off the trail. When I told her the circumstances of the event, she asked which hospital I’d been taken to. I was curious why, and she said, “Because I had my finger stitched that day, and you were sitting next to me in the waiting room. Your face was covered with blood.”

* The photo was taken on the accident day.

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