A guide in need of a rescue

A guide in need of a rescue My moment of greatest dread as a guide came this summer on the last bend of the Wind River. Our camp was aglow in evening light, dinner was ready and I was talking via satellite phone with a physician friend who was confirming

My moment of greatest dread as a guide came this summer on the last bend of the Wind River. Our camp was aglow in evening light, dinner was ready and I was talking via satellite phone with a physician friend who was confirming what I didn’t want to hear: I needed an emergency medical evacuation, for myself.

I started guiding out of university more than 10 years ago and was now emerging from two years of maternity leave, returning to Black Feather Adventures for the first time since I guided on the Mountain River. Back then I was four months pregnant with my first baby, dreaming of a future when my kids would keep me in the paddling game. As I headed to Whitehorse, ready to step back into my former life, I found out I was pregnant once again!

Being back in the canoe was heavenly, of course. Spending days immersed in nature was invigorating. Even hauling canoes and schlepping barrels was perversely satisfying. But at this point in my life, I returned for a chance at forging lasting relationships with extraordinary people.

Armed with trip reports and maps, this was my inaugural trip down the Wind River, with five clients from across Canada and the U.S. Halfway along, I started experiencing some mild-yet-stable symptoms indicating that this pregnancy might not be progressing as smoothly as the previous ones. A few days later, my nightmare started: a miscarriage at 13 weeks on a remote river in the capacity of lone guide.

Being the only guide will make even the most competent and confident wonder, “what if something happens to me?” At the first hint of trouble I had tried to line up contingency plans, but now as dusk was falling and the increasing urgency of the medical situation was increasing, I ended up having to call my personal friend, Kalin Pallett, on his cellphone for help.

He didn’t mention how busy work had been, or even tell me he was standing in the pouring rain after the whitewater rodeo he had been emceeing. He said: “OK Anne. I’ve got your back. We’ll get you outta there.” It meant the world to me to hear those words as I sat there staying as still as possible so it would hurt less, wondering how much I would have to endure and trying not to think up complications that could turn this into a life-threatening situation.

Kalin rushed to the Up North Adventures store, where he is the general manager, and called the owner, Mark Stenzig, who didn’t hesitate to make available the resources to not only arrange an evacuation, but also a replacement guide pulled from their staff. They offered every kind of encouragement, support and succor that night and in the ensuing days. Fortuitously, I made it to the Whitehorse hospital just before the worst of the miscarriage took place.

I remain eternally grateful to Kalin in particular, but also to Mark and Up North Adventures, for organizing the evacuation in the fastest possible manner, saving me from a great deal of agonizing pain and likely saving my life. I also wish to express my gratitude to my friend the physician for her invaluable advice and to Yukon EMS.

Anne Rensonnet

Cochrane, Alberta

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. On Nov. 24, Silver and Hanley announced masks will be mandatory in public places as of Dec. 1, and encouraged Yukoners to begin wearing masks immediately. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read