“Get Some Help, Fast!” Ensign, Aug. 1996, 62–64
Our Varsity Scout troop planned a trip to Miner Lake in southwestern Montana. The weather was clear the day we left, and we looked forward to the adventure. Eight boys and Brother Kaylen Miskin, whose two sons were in the group, accompanied me. After several hours we stopped for the night and made our main camp, where we would leave the vehicle. Early the next morning we all set off on foot. When we crossed the final 9,000-foot-high ridge and saw Miner Lake below us, the lake looked cold and clouds hung over the area, partially obscuring pockets of snow.
We dropped down a thousand feet to the edge of the lake and set up camp on the shore. Black clouds rolled in and rain poured down most of the night. The next morning it was still gray and cold. Nevertheless, two of the boys decided to hike up the mountain while the others headed for a snow slide on the other side of the lake.
Suddenly we heard a shout from my son Mike, one of the young men hiking up the mountain. “Corbet fell!” Fear clutched my heart as I looked up. Mike had scrambled down beside the fallen boy, who lay barely a hundred feet from me. “Help me!” Mike shouted.
Kaylen Miskin, the boy’s father, and I rushed to where his son lay. Corbet’s head was covered in blood. One of the Scouts ran for a first-aid kit while Kaylen and I gave Corbet a priesthood blessing. We prepared a compression bandage for his head wound, a nasty-looking gash that went deep into the scalp. After the blessing, however, we noticed that the wound had stopped bleeding, so we didn’t use the bandage after all.
When I asked Mike what had happened to Corbet, he replied, “A rock the size of a basketball came tumbling down from above. It missed me but struck Corbet.”
We sent for a blanket, folded it lengthwise, and carefully placed Corbet on it to carry him down to the pup tent. Then we sent some of the boys back to the base camp to call for help and to bring the large first-aid kit.
By now Corbet was choking and throwing up. To make matters worse, wind and rain bore down on us, then quickly turned to snow. As I stood by the fire, I was suddenly impressed that we were not going to get any help. “We have got to get him out of here ourselves,” I said to Kaylen. “There won’t be any help coming.” He agreed.
Every moment counted. One of the Scouts took the hatchet and cut two pine poles eight feet long. We took down a tent and used part of it to cover Corbet and used the tent flap to make a stretcher. By the time we finished, two of the boys were back with the first-aid kit. It had taken them exactly one hour to go there and back, a journey that had taken us closer to four hours one way the day before.
As we prepared to leave, we knelt in prayer and asked Father in Heaven to make us strong enough for the task that lay ahead. With six of us carrying the stretcher, we headed up the slick and treacherous slope toward the ridge. When we reached the top of the saddle, we were hit by 40-mile-an-hour winds and blowing snow. After a short rest, we plunged down into the canyon below. Soon the snow turned to rain. Exhaustion and cold began to take their toll, and soon our legs were trembling from fatigue. Ten minutes from camp, fresh volunteers met us and soon Corbet was placed inside a waiting four-wheel-drive vehicle. His father held him, cradling his head during the rough ride to Salmon, Idaho.
Doctors examined Corbet and discovered his skull had been severely fractured, resulting in many small bone fragments that had to be removed. Because of the severity of the injury, he was transported to Idaho Falls, where he underwent surgery. We later discovered that had we placed the compression bandage on his head, the bone fragments likely would have been pressed into his brain, causing irreparable brain damage.
Corbet recovered and later served a mission in Russia. I am grateful for the power of the priesthood that caused the wound to stop bleeding, and for the answer to our prayer for strength that enabled us to carry out the injured young man under such treacherous conditions.