National Park

‘Trail Angels’ Help Rescue Virginia Woman Injured While Hiking

Two George Washington University nursing students stepped in to help an injured hiker. The hiker says their efforts saved her from losing her footing.

LURAY, Virginia – It was a beautiful cool morning on the Whiteoak Canyon Falls Trail in Shenandoah National Park. This is how Anna Jones describes the start of the hike with her husband and several friends.

The group hiked the rough terrain to the waterfalls, had lunch and took photos. They soaked in the view and decided to head back down the mountain.

“I slipped on a wet rock that tipped over. I fell, obviously on my ankle and immediately knew something was wrong. It was completely disfigured,” Jones said.

Unable to walk, Jones’ husband and friends fashioned a makeshift splint out of branches, then attempted to carry a firefighter down the mountain. Jones also tried crabbing, but none of those techniques worked. The group started to worry because with no cell service on the trail, they couldn’t call for help.

That same day, on the same track were Jose Garcia and Brittany Bohn.

“It was very obvious to us that she needed help immediately and we had no time to waste,” Bohn said.

Garcia and Bohn are George Washington University nursing students who had just completed their first semester. They are also both veterans. Garcia and Bohn used their brand new nursing skills and military training, the pair quickly sprang into action.

“In the Marine Corp, we had training in jungle warfare. That’s one of the things we learned was how to transport someone who was injured in the wild with what you have around you,” Garcia said.

With only large tree branches and their jackets, they were able to make a stretcher. They treated Jones’ foot with whatever was around them. Then they put her on the stretcher and started the two-hour hike down the mountain.

Bohn tells WUSA9 that she’s glad they were in the right place at the right time. Once at the base of the mountain, Jones was treated by emergency crews and taken to hospital.

The encounter is one that Jones believes was nothing but fate.

“I truly believe that God sent the angels of the paths to us. There is no doubt about it. Due to their quickness in building the bed and getting me down as fast as possible, they literally saved my foot. I will be forever grateful to them,” Jones said.

Jones is at home recovering from surgery after the accident in late April. The injury ended up being a triple broken ankle. She has four weeks left of physical therapy and says she can’t wait to get back on the trails one day.

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