Rested and at home, Wes Pahl, of American Falls, is even more grateful for the Franklin County Search & Rescue Team, especially the two who brought them out of the mountains yesterday. Several family members and friends from American Falls also came to help rescue them.
"They are pretty amazing individuals, to come get us out," said Pahl. He and his brother-in-law, Nic Nulph, had spent one night keeping a fire going to stay warm, and the next following search and rescue volunteers through deep snow, out of the mountains. (See related story here.)
Although the two men have spent many years traveling to Franklin County to enjoy the snowmobile trails and countryside, it was the snow that misdirected them into a thickly wooded ravine where they became stranded, Pahl said.
"The weather was crummy - it was socked in... I thought I was in a different area than I was," he said. With daylight disappearing, he and Nulph decided they were best off seeking help instead of pushing further down the ravine. Pahl said he was concerned they'd get their snowmobiles into thicker stands of trees than they were in already. So they pulled out their cell phones and emergency gear. When they found a signal, they called for help and spent the night keeping a fire going.
Having to continuously go further out from their fire to find wood for their fire helped to keep the chill off, too, he said. That is, until the wet snow finally found its way into their clothing. By the time help arrived, they were thankful for the dry clothing the rescuers brought with them.
Although Pahl and Nulph were thankful they'd come prepared with equipment and food, the experience reinforced the necessity of being prepared and making sure to know exactly where one is at all times, said Pahl. Again, he expressed his appreciation to the volunteers who helped them get home.
"I know they don't get paid for it. They are pretty amazing people to take the time to come help us," he said.
They were no more thankful than were their wives. Pahl has two boys ages two and four, and Nulph a baby girl.
Brianne Pahl said she made her husband and Nulph, her brother, promise not to fall asleep, so they wouldn't freeze. Taking advantage of the phone signal they had, she called them every 90 minutes to two hours to make sure. There was no more sleep in American Falls than there was in the mountains of Franklin County either night.
She, too, expressed gratitude to the many people who gathered to get her husband and brother home. "Our lives don't function without them," said Brianne of her young family, as well as of her brother's family.