Portland/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 15, 2024
Hillsboro Hiker's Dream Trek Turns to Survival Saga After 300-Foot Fall on Columbia River Gorge TrailSource: Facebook/Skamania County Sheriff's Office

A Hillsboro woman's scenic hike along the Dog Mountain Trail in the Columbia River Gorge morphed into an ordeal of survival after she plummeted nearly 300 feet off the path last week. Rebecca Halley, who had long aspired to revisit the trail since an autumn trek with her daughter, told KGW that an unexpected stumble led to her harrowing descent. "It had been a dream of mine since my daughter and I hiked it about four or five years ago; we went in October, and I knew May was the month to go," Halley reflected on the trip that nearly ended in tragedy.

Pulling through with more luck than she had right to expect, Halley managed to survive the incident, which occurred on May 10th. However, returning her to safety wasn't an easy feat due to the challenging terrain she fell in. According to a report by KOIN, her rescue necessitated the skilled intervention of a U.S. Army medical helicopter team that conducted a hoist operation to extricate her from the steep incline.

The hiker's fall left her unconscious and unresponsive; she was eventually flown to PeaceHealth Southwest in Vancouver where she received treatment for her injuries. The description of her condition was detailed by KOIN in the wake of her mishap.

At the heart of her dramatic rescue was an unnamed U.S. Army medic, who, when describing his motivation to KOIN, shared the profundity of the moment. Despite the steepness that greeted him, the medic said, "If someone’s out there and they’re not going to make it unless they get found, being able to be that person to find them is probably the most gratifying, satisfying, and motivating emotion to have." His courage underlines the precarious nature of the Dog Mountain Trail, known for its roughly 6-mile length and summit at about 2900 feet, where even a seasoned hiker's dream can quickly become a survivor's tale.