‘Trail angels’ help save Virginia woman injured on hike in Shenandoah National Park


Two George Washington University nursing students stepped in to help an injured hiker. The hiker says their efforts kept her from losing her foot.

LURAY, Va. — It was a beautiful crisp morning on the Whiteoak Canyon Falls trail in the Shenandoah National Park. That’s how Anna Jones describes the start of the hike with her husband and several friends. 

The group hiked through the tough terrain up to the waterfalls, had lunch and took pictures. They soaked in the views and decided to make their way back down the mountain. 

“I slipped on a wet rock that went teeter totter. I came crashing down, evidently on my ankle and knew right away something was wrong. It was completely disfigured,” Jones said. 

Unable to walk, Jones’ husband and friends made a makeshift splint with branches, then attempted a fireman carry to take her back down the mountain. Jones also tried crab walking, but neither technique was working. The group began to worry because with no cell service on the trail, they were unable to call for help.

On that same day, on the same trail were Jose Garcia and Brittany Bohn. 

“It was very apparent to us that she needed help immediately and we had no time to waste,” Bohn said. 

Garcia and Bohn are George Washington University Nursing students who had just finished their first semester. They are also both veterans. Garcia and Bohn used their brand new nursing skills and military training the pair quickly stepped into action.

“In the Marine Corps. we did jungle warfare training. That’s one of the things we learned was how to carry someone who was injured out in the wild with what you have around you,” Garcia said. 

With only large tree branches and their jackets, they were able to make a stretcher. They treated Jones’ foot with what they had around them. Then they put her on the stretcher and started the two-hour trek back down the mountain. 

Bohn tells WUSA9 she’s glad they just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Once at the bottom of the mountain, Jones was treated by emergency crews and taken to the hospital. 

The encounter is one Jones believes was nothing but fate. 

“I do truly believe God sent the trails angels to us. There’s no doubt. Because of their swiftness of building the cot and getting me down as fast as possible, they literally saved my foot. I’m forever grateful,” Jones said. 

Jones is home recovering from surgery after the late April accident. The injury ended up being a triple fracture in her ankle. She has four weeks of physical therapy left and says she is looking forward to one day getting back out on the trails. 

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