Hi, I'm Kim, and I'm going to tell you about a summer I had several years ago when I was hiking the Alaskan backcountry and fell across a band of nasty poachers.
I wasn't sure exactly where I was, which was fine with me; I had a GPS system if I needed help getting back to the drop point. I was working on a wild life picture spread and had brought 50 roles of film; I had already worked through 20 roles so far and had loved every minute. Just before I left the ranger station, where I had gotten all my permits, the ranger had told me to watch out for the Kodiak, which was only a smart thing to do, as well as to watch out for poachers; that the poachers had been working some of the same area that I had planned to be in. I told the ranger that if I find any traps or pits I would try to disable them or just mark them and keep records of the GPS locations and turn them in when I get back.
I had done it twice before had actually helped catch some poacher. I was well over a week into my trek when I had spotted some poachers. There were five or six of them and they had just brought down a young male black bear, I wished then that I had invested in a satellite phone but unfortunately; it came down to the phone or the trip. You can guess which one I chose.
I had thought I stayed out of sight and was planning on working my way back and away from the poachers but I guess I hadn't been as good as I thought and after a day, realized that I was being followed. Then I made one of the biggest mistakes I could have and left the trail hoping to cut cross country to get back to base camp faster. After two hours, I finally had to admit that I was lost and had to rely on my GPS unit to get me out. The second mistake was that I had not been paying enough attention to the trail that alone could get you killed and it nearly did for me. As I walked along, I had a second to realize that the ground was giving way and I was falling into a pit trap. I landed badly, I jarred my left arm and shoulder and hit my head, but that wasn't the worse, I had heard something in my right leg snap and before I could check it out, the pain in the leg was so bad, I blacked out.
I don't know how long I was out for, but the sounds of men's voices are what had awoken me. I guessed that the poachers had followed and found me. I had fallen onto my side so decided to stay right were I was. I think that I was hoping that the poachers would think I was dead and leave.
"Well what do we have here? I think we bagged us something real special." Said one of the voices, there was a nasty laugh behind his words.
"I don't know but I would sure like to find out," said another man in a whinny voice. "Is she alive do you think? I've heard of some falling into these traps and breaking their necks."
"She's alive, see she's breathing." In a louder voice, "Hey! Wake up. Hey!!"
I didn't want to move but I did. And groaned as I used my good arm and tried to sit myself up right. It was hard because I hurt all over. I didn't try anything more because I knew I would never make it to my feet.
"So what do we do now? Should we just leave her here or get her out?" asked yet another man.
"We'll get her out and take her with us. Woman's cooking is always better than mine." Said the man that had called her to wake. He seemed to be the leader at any rate.
After a moment, someone lowered a rope down into the pit. "Come on, get up and take the rope and we'll pull you up. Come on, we haven't got all day."
I couldn't move even if I had the strength to do so, nor could I have climbed out using only one hand. The leader again ordered me up and several others began calling too. Then one of the men spoke up. "I don't think she can get up. Looks like she hurt herself pretty bad. I'll go down and take a look. If she's too bad off we should just leave her. I would guess she has one of those emergency beacons with her and she can get help for herself in a day or two."
"I don't know about that. We're close to camp, someone might see it." Complained the man I deem to be the leader.
"I don't feel like lugging an injured woman all over either. I doubt you would want to. Just hold the rope and I'll go down and be back up in a few."
In moments, I heard someone coming down into the pit. I tried to move back away from who ever it was but there just wasn't enough room. He came right up to me and knelt down. In the back of her mind, she thought he was somewhat handsome if you could get him to stand under a waterfall for a time to get all the dirt off, but I was still scared out of my mind and had no idea what this man was going to do.
"Please don't hurt me. Please." I begged.
"It's all right. Just tell me where you hurt." His voice was even better up close.
"Please don't hurt me. Please." I begged again.
"I don't intend to. Come on, I just want to help, what hurts?"
I decide that there was something in the way he spoke that said he could be trusted. "My left arm and shoulder, as well as my right leg. I think it's broken." I said with a sob.
He reached out and starting from neck, he felt his way down my arm. It didn't feel broken but it sure brought tears to my eye it hurt so much. Then he moved to check out my leg. He started just above the knee and worked his way down. He was half way down the calf when he gave a curse and said, "Leg's broke. However it's not too badly out of alignment. I can but it back but you won't be able to walk for sometime. The shoulder and arm are just jarred and will be good to go in a few days."
He turned his head up and raised his voice to tell the others up above. "What can you do about it?" The leader man replied.
"I can set the leg but she can't walk on it for several weeks. We should just leave her here and let her get help for herself."
"No, set the leg and we'll take her with us. Make sure to bring her pack and things with you when you come up."
"Max, in my pack, in the outer pocket, are some strips of cloth. Toss them down to me with some arm length sticks." Then he turned back to me. "Take a deep breath and hold still."
I yelled when he set the bone and almost passed out again, but then some of the pain did stop. Just then, someone tossed down some fabric and the sticks that he wanted. He bound the leg up tight and I hoped that it would hold. I also hoped that this man could convince the others to just leave me, I had a bad feeling about the leader and if something happened, there would be nothing I could do to stop it.
"Please just leave me. You don't have to take me with you. I can get help, please."
"It's not up to me and if Paul says your coming with us, he means it. Just behave and nothing will happen."
He helped me to a standing position then tied the rope around me. Within moments, I was up and out of the pit. The helpful man came up just after. I took a moment to look around as two of the men were still holding me up and found that there were only five of them. Then the leader came up to me. "So what were you doing out in the forest? And why were you following us?"
"I wasn't following you. I was following some tracks and just happened across you." Damn, I hadn't met to say that, "I'm a photographer; I'm out here taking pictures of animals. Please just let me go and I'll not say anything. I swear, please."
"You already know too much. Mark throw her over your shoulder and bring her along."
Another man came forward, he was huge, and nearly seven feet tall at least; he picked me up like I didn't even weigh anything, and then he was off following the others. After a short time, I, thankfully, blacked out again because being carried the way I was causing a lot of pain.
I woke as the big man was putting me down on some blankets in a tent. The leader was standing at the opening of the tent with a strange look on his face. Before the big man left, he looked at me and asked if I needed anything. I tried to make it sound like a joke but I asked if any one had any painkillers, and was surprised when he pulled out a bottle of Darviset. I took a few tablets out of the bottle and handed it back to him then he handed me a canteen. I broke the tablet in half and took it, then the big man left. I put the rest of the pills in my pocket and just waited for the pill I took to take some of the pain away.
The leader was still standing at the opening of the tent. "Well what are we going to do with you now. I thought of having you do all the camp chores but with a busted leg, you can't even get out of this tent without help."
"You should have just left me at the pit. Please just take me back there and I can get the rangers to come and get me. I don't even know where we are so you don't have to worry about me telling anyone."
"Like I believe that. Believe it or not, I do know who you are. I saw you a few years ago when you were here taking picture. I even got a hold of a magazine that had some of your pictures in it. You really are a good photographer. I also know that you've been charting the locations of traps you find and turning that over to the rangers. If you need anything just yell for Mark or John." And with that, he left. I was so scared I felt like I was going to throw up but I had the feeling that the leader wouldn't like that. Slowly the pain eased put I still felt on the verge. I tried to lie down but got even sicker and I wished I had my pack with me to lean on. I don't know if it was the pain or the painkillers on an empty stomach but I had to get out of the tent and soon so, I called out. "Mark, John, Please, any one I need to get out of the tent. I'm going to be sick."
.... There is more of this story ...