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True Story - Rescue on the West Coast Trail

The following story is written by Meredith, an experienced West Coast Trail trekker whose riveting story of perseverance and determination lead to having to activate her PLB (personal locator beacon) . This story tells that even with experience, planning and preparation situations can arise that will require assistance. This emergency situation was averted by realizing that they required help to avert the serious consequences of Hypothermia.

Read on as Meredith tells her story first hand.

“This was my third time on the WCT over the past 4 years. I have hiked it through great weather and not so great weather, but never anything like this. I made the decision to hike the WCT again this year as it had been closed in 2020 due to COVID and I had the hiking itch. I asked a girlfriend of mine to join me as it has been on her bucket list. While she is very fit, she has never done overnight hikes. However, her mother is an avid hiker and would, hopefully, offer her some great gear and tips. We knew that we were expecting rain on about day 3 or 4. The Weather Network was predicting anywhere from 20-25mm of rain, so we made sure to pack the necessary essentials - rain jacket, rain pants, gators, warm clothing for camp and a tarp.

We set off on September 1st with the intention of completing the trail in 6 days.

I feel like the universe was telling me to call it quits well before the rain because on the first night one of my tent poles broke, the filter on my platypus failed (it worked fine at home when I tested it) and we discovered on the first night that my girlfriend’s sleeping bag was entirely insufficient for the temperature drop at night. Her sleeping bag was literally a shell. I have never seen anything like it and it couldn’t have been rated for anything less than 15 degrees Celsius; but, we persisted and managed through all the setbacks. I had a pole repair kit, she had water purifying tabs and made it through the first 3 days.