Rosalie Rescue Squad talks about safe Jericho Walls hike
ESTILLFORK, Ala. – Memorial Day weekend is a busy time for the Jericho Walls in Jackson County, near the Tennessee Line.
Volunteer rescue teams and law enforcement respond to reports of lost and / or injured hikers several times a year.
Members of the Rosalie Rescue Squad tested their gear, including ATVs and a new mapping system, at the popular hiking site ahead of a summer full of rescues.
“I started mapping this morning where we started here, I went up and down the old forest trail on horseback all the way to the bottom to the creek,” the team member said. Trevor Graben.
Graben recently downloaded the SARTopo system a few months ago and is using it to make future rescues and recoveries faster and easier.
“We’re going to get it mapped out, so if I or someone else who doesn’t know it answers a call, one of the other researchers can pick it up on their phone and already know where to go,” explained Graben. .
The Rosalie Rescue Squad responds as a backup to the Scottsboro-Jackson County Rescue Squad when needed.
“It looks like Scottsboro-Jackson County gets called here at least every other weekend or sometimes during the week,” Rosalie Rescue Squad captain Patrick Gifford said.
Gifford tells News 19 that hikers can protect themselves at the walls of Jericho by wearing good hiking boots, having plenty of water, and bringing a flashlight and compass.
He says it’s essential for hikers to stay on the trails.
“If they go off the trail it is slippery in some places on some rocks and they could fall, they could hurt their heads and they could also be dehydrated because they are not carrying enough water,” explained Gifford.
The hiking trail itself isn’t too rugged or difficult to follow thanks to clear markings, but News 19 Northeast Alabama bureau chief Tiffany Lester has seen the trails firsthand as emergency responders must use when searching for a lost or injured hiker.
The road was steep, rocky and at times difficult to maneuver.
“It’s very dangerous there,” Gifford said.
“It’s very risky, everything we do,” Graben added. “The roads on which we have to navigate side by side and on four wheels, as well as tips for getting to the bottom, transporting our gear and our things without walking are quite difficult and quite steep.
So rough and steep that Gifford, Graben and Lester got stuck several times on a rocky road. After some work, they were able to go up the mountain and reach the parking lot of the hiking trail.
Gifford and Graben tell News 19 they are encouraging hikers to be smart to protect themselves and the volunteers who must trek the treacherous mountain to help hikers who may be lost or injured.
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