ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A group of hikers was rescued from a New Mexico trail. They expressed their gratitude for the help.
It was a day these four friends will never forget.
“I mean we were excited. We woke up pretty early just to go on this hike,” Sage Faustino, a hiker said.
They traveled all the way from Michigan and hiking the La Luz trail in the Sandias was on their to-do list.
“It was warm. We were sweating and everything at first, so we were taking off layers and putting them back on a little bit in between,” Justin Samuels, one of the hikers said. “We weren’t really expecting what was going to happen.”
The first six miles on March 8 were as expected, a beautiful 70 degrees outside. However, as they got closer to the top of the mountain, things took a turn. They hit deep snow and ice.
“(I was thinking) I really hope this is not how the rest of the trip is, but it just got worse from that point on,” Caleb Gildner, another hiker said.
They said seeing the tram within sight made them push through, even bear crawling at one point. “We just kind of had this mindset, especially when the snow started, like keep going, we’re almost there,” Faustino said.
It reached a point where they knew there was no coming down on their own, finally calling for help. That’s when Albuquerque Mountain Rescue, Cibola Search, and Rescue, Bernalillo County Fire, and BCSO joined together to find the four hikers, who they say were unprepared.
After a few hours, help had finally arrived.
“Just knowing there was people close, and they did know exactly where we were, was probably one of the greatest feelings I have ever had,” Gildner said.
Ultimately, the hike started at 7 a.m. and finally ended around 10 p.m. that night. Now the friends are home safe, they’re already thinking about their next trip back to tackle the trail. This time, they say, more prepared and with a better mindset.
“I think we, kind of, went in not really respecting like how hard the hike was,” Faustino said.
All four hikers were treated for Hypothermia.