There was light rain and a lot of mud at the start of our big 17.5 mile hike today. By afternoon, it was sunny and cold by Santa Barbara standards. It was actually quite a good day for hiking.
We joked several times about being done by 3pm. On the final downhill descent it looked like we really would make it by 3pm. We reached the cars only a few minutes past.
In our excitement, none of us noticed that one of our group, The Man, was nowhere to be seen. We waited a few minutes and he still did not arrive. I started back up the trail and still did not see him. I asked people coming down if they had seen them and nobody had. Now I knew there was a real problem.
Part of our route down was along a small connector that not many people know about. So I knew I had to hike at least back to that connector. I hoped that he maybe had slipped on a rock at a creek that is there and hurt his ankle again. Hoped not that he would be hurt there, but that I wouldn't have to backtrack all the way up the mountain. But he wasn't at the creek. So that meant I would have to hike all the way up the hill to the powerlines. I was pretty tired after the 17.5 miles, but up the hill I went.
I called out as I went up, hoping to hear that he was on his way down. Nothing. I reached the top and there he was, laying in a sunny spot under a powerline. He was holding his phone. He had called Search and Rescue. He said he had chest pains. He was all white and shaking.
After a long while and many wrong turns, the Search and Rescue people were able to drive up the powerline road to help him out. He went to the hospital while I shuttled everyone else back to the beginning of our hike. We had basically hiked from the western edge of Santa Barbara all the way to the eastern edge of Montecito.
At the hospital, The Man looked much better. He was pink again and lucid. He didn't believe me when I said he wasn't lucid back on the trail. They kept us prisoner at the ER waiting forever for things to happen. I finally had to go eat in the hospital cafeteria, but The Man was denied food and water. They wanted to keep him overnight but he said no, he wanted to go home. So I took him home.
I guess we won't be backpacking across Fuller Ridge this weekend. The snow up there may have forced us to hike to Warner Springs instead, but now it's probably not a good idea to hike anywhere.