An 84 year old hiker escaped serious injury thanks to the quick reactions of four local teenagers.
Calgary resident, Barbara Van Blomestein, fell while hiking at Fairy Creek Falls on Sept. 4.
On her way to Wardner and wanting to take advantage of the sunshine, she embarked on the hike alongside her brother, Rowland Davies, and sister in law, Mary Davies.
Van Blomestein lost her footing on an exposed section of trail. Not having anything to grab to stabilize herself, she began rolling down the hill towards the water.
Local youth Joel Zimbalatti, Jakob Shannon, Jeremy Shannon, and Kiana Blanchette were down by the water when they noticed Van Blomestein stumble, rolling sideways down the steep embankment. Immediately springing to the rescue, the group of teens scrambled down to help. “Those kids were just marvelous,” said Van Blomestein.
“I was just so thankful. They must be really commended for their bravery, it was a really steep slope.”
The teens were joined by Van Blomestein’s brother, who managed to get her back on her feet.
“I don’t know how they got there so quickly,” said Van Blomestein about the teens. “In my mind I didn’t know how to get out of there. My biggest thought was that we were all going to go down together, I was so worried about them. But they assessed the situation very calmly, climbed down and managed to stand in that area. They were amazing.”
Van Blomestein claims the incident was a complete miracle, having landed on soft vegetation and escaping with only a few scratches and bruises.
Van Blomestein says the trail was not wet where she fell, but rather she attributes her accident to an unsafely narrow and exposed trail, at a location that is prone to distraction.
“When you say ‘elderly’ you think of someone in a walker, but I’m certainly not that. I go for long walks every day, and I am very active for my age. This was an easy hike for me, but it’s very dangerous. The path is far too narrow at that particular spot.”
To express endless appreciation for her heroes, Van Blomestein wrote each of the teens a personal thank you letter.