EAGLE, ID - David Finlayson was enjoying a backpacking trip with his 13-year-old son, Charlie, when suddenly everything went south. The two were scouting a climbing route when a boulder rolled off the mountainside and knocked David off his feet. He fell, tumbling 20 to 30 feet down the side of the mountain. This knocked him out, but amazingly didn't kill him.
Charlie rushed over to his father. The fall had left David with a broken back, left arm, left heel and a foot-long gash on his shin. Though scared, Charlie knew that he had to do something. Their camp - a mile away - was another 13 miles from the nearest ranger station where they might be able to summon help. And they were in the middle of a 12-day trip, so they would not be missed anytime soon.
Using the first-aid kit that they had brought with them, Charlie disinfected and bandaged his father's wounds as best he could. Then he ran the mile back to camp to fetch blankets and sleeping bags. The next morning, they began the slow slog through the boulder field. Even with Charlie's help, it took David hours to crawl through the rocks to get back to the lake.
Charlie searched the nearby trails and camps in hopes of enlisting help, but found no one. Finally on the third day after the accident, Charlie had to make the difficult decision of leaving his dad and hiking the 12 or so miles back for help. Three miles out, he ran into two men from his hometown. They went back to stay with David. Farther on, he ran across more hikers. One man ran the last 8 miles ahead. A helicopter was called in to airlift David to a nearby hospital.
Though still in a bit of pain, David is slowly getting better. He is very thankful for the actions of his brave, quick-thinking son. David and Charlie are already planning their next adventure together. The destination this time? The beach.