Seizures on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)

December 12, 2009

Seizures on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)
Saturday December 12th, 2009
The text message came out at 12:36 pm stating “To all RMRU we have a Search Rescue for a hiker on the PCT. Call the rescue line”.
The message on the rescue line was a hiker had activated a Spot message for help and gave the coordinates. Les Walker and Chuck Springer were the first on scene at the intersection of highway 74 and highway 371 at the Paradise Corner Café where we were instructed to meet. We met up with Deputy Hollinsworth. We had been told that the subject was someplace near Sagebrush Flats close to the dirt runway of a old airport. Les entered in the coordinates given but due to the fact that the coordinates did not show which datum was being used it took awhile to find coordinates that jived with the location given by the Deputy and Gwenda. Once the coordinates were a match for the area, Walker and Springer headed toward the area via Burnt Valley road off of highway 371. On to El Toro Road then to Table Mt. Truck Trail. Once off Burnt Valley Road we encountered 4 wheel drive conditions in mud. Thanks to the GPS and Walker’s knowledge of the area roads we found the location where the PCT crossed the Table Mt. Truck Trail and we parked there and assembled gear. We made contact with the responding team members Brian and Randy who were coming to the scene with the RMRU truck. Walker and Springer took to the PCT while looking for tracks that would tell us if the subject might have come this way and only accidently set off the Spot. The GPS stated the straight line from the IPP to the last know postion "LKP" was just over 1 mile. Via the trail it exceeded 2 miles. About half way to the "LKP" we noticed fresh tracks that were going up and down the trail. It appeared that if this was the subject that he was disoriented and trying to find his way to a local house. As we proceeded up the trail we called out and used our whistles seeking a response by the subject. After passing the area above Sagebrush Flats and the runway we traveled ten minutes farther and saw a guy walking our way. We asked him if he was Mike, our subject and he responded in the affirmative. He was obviously disoriented. We sat him down and covered him in a sleeping bag and reflective tarp. We fed him Snickers bars and gave him water and more Snickers and more water. All the time we quizeded him on how he was feeling. He told us that he had just come out of a seizure before he heard our calling out. That he had been hiking from Indio.
Les went back to his camp site and packed it up while I continued to feed him snacks and water. When Les returned to our location the subject felt good enough to walk down the trail towards Sage Brush Flats. We had radioed for medical back up at Sage Brush as we headed down to the wash leading to the location. Once we made the wash, Les went ahead to scout a path to the rendezvous point. As we approached the area we gave a compass bearing to the other team members who were trying to get access to the locked and gated rustic area. Finally the deputy cut the chain to the gate and the team was able to provide us a truck to move the subject.
During this time the subject had another seizure while we kept him covered and spoke to him during the episode. Randy and Brian, Tom and Patrick joined us.
Les asked Randy and Brian to go back to the LKP and retrieve the subjects gear.
We loaded the subject into Patrick’s truck and he was taken to the waiting ambulance as the ambulance was unable to travel the muddy road to the subject.
The subject was transported to the Muretta hospital.