On August 11, we received a call requesting help for a Belgian Malinois named Emmett. The owner communicated via InReach device that Emmett had a traumatic injury to the knee with bleeding and swelling. They were hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, camped above Spectacle Lake.
Due to the location, this deployment would require a long drive and hike in. We geared up and drove to the Mineral Creek trailhead, arriving at 9:30pm. As the injury sounded potentially severe, we grabbed the needed gear for a potential pack-out, including litter and first aid supplies, and headed out on the trail at 10 pm.
We reached the coordinates a little after 2:30 am where we found two hikers and two dogs. Upon assessment, the wound was found to be a 1” long full thickness laceration on the inside of his right ankle joint. He had some swelling around the wound, but the initial distal leg swelling had resolved and it was no longer bleeding. When encouraged to rise and walk, Emmett was non-weight bearing on the injured leg but was able to walk on his other 3 legs. We applied a padded support bandage to prevent further bleeding.
We set up tarps and tents and hunkered down around 3:30 am. After a brief rest, we rose at 6 am to prepare for the hike out.
Given Emmett’s size, the difficulty of a pack-out, and his good mobility on 3 limbs, the team decided Emmett could likely return to the trailhead under his own power with harness assistance, if necessary.
Emmett was able to walk all the way down the trail, being carried by his owner short distances across some of the more difficult areas and small waterways. He alternated between non-weight bearing and light weight bearing on his injured leg.
Upon arrival at the trailhead and our gear truck, we replaced his dirty bandage with a fresh bandage to the leg. We then transported the two dogs and two hikers to their personal cars at the PCT trailhead, near Alpental. The team sorted gear, debriefed, and headed home.
We are so glad to have been able to help Emmett get back to the trailhead safely.