Solo adventuring is a wonderful way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern-day life. With nothing around you but an expanse of nature and a set of smells and sounds very different from cramped, loud, polluted cities, strolling through the wilderness can prove quite therapeutic.
It’s also incredibly dangerous.
No matter how experienced a hiker you are, going alone — especially in tricky terrain — is a good way to get yourself in trouble. There are measures you can take, of course, to mitigate those troubling possibilities, and thankfully hiker Amelia Milling was prepared with one: a SPOT device.
“SPOT offers peace of mind by allowing you to notify friends and family of your GPS position and status, mark waypoints, track your progress on Google Maps or notify rescue officials in a critical emergency,” the SPOT Facebook page reads.
The device isn’t cheap, and some models cost up to $250, but the service they provide is priceless. A phone isn’t always helpful, especially if you make a habit of delving into the unknown (and out of range), but with SPOT you can tell people exactly where you are no matter where that may be.
Though this incident took place a year ago, its lessons are still relevant and its hero is still adorable. On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, Milling — who is deaf — set off on a hike in the breathtaking Chugach State Park near Anchorage, Alaska. As she trekked along Crow Pass Trail, she had an accident.
Both of her hiking poles broke, sending her skidding down the steep, snow-covered mountainside. She slid around 700 feet, hitting a rock halfway down.
When she finally stopped and looked up, she saw a white dog approaching.
“That’s when I first saw Nanook and first I thought he was a wolf,” Milling told “Good Morning America.” “Then I saw the little collar and realized he was there to help me.”
“Crowpass Guide,” the dog’s tag read, along with a return address. Milling later found out the dog’s name was Nanook, or Nookie, but for a while, he was just her fluffy guardian angel.
Milling decided to overnight in her tent. In the morning, the clingy husky was still there, waiting.
“When I opened up the tent, he was ready to go,” Milling later recounted. “He was just right there and that helped me to have some motivation to keep going.”
That wasn’t the end of their adventure, though. Being the seasoned traveler that he was, Nanook knew where he was going, so he led them back to the trail, according to an article by DPS Alaska.
They came to the Eagle River crossing, but disaster struck again when Milling tried to cross and found herself swept along by the strong current. No worry — Nanook was there again, ready to spring into action.
“Nookie came and grabbed the shoulder strap of my backpack and actually pulled it out,” Milling recalled.
Milling decided it was time to call for help. She turned on the SPOT device and waited, trying to warm up by wrapping herself up in a sleeping bag.
She was found, and both she and her furry hero were airlifted out. Milling was checked over and found to be in good shape, considering what she’d been through. One of the rescue members, Lt. Olsen, decided to give the canine Crowpass Guide’s owner a ring.
“When I realized I had a real-life hero dog I called up the owner and he said, ‘No way,’” Olsen recalled, according to GMA. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this was not Nanook’s first rescue.
“There was one other girl about 6 years old — he saved [her] when she fell in the river,” owner Scott Swift told GMA.
Not that we needed any more proof that dogs are amazing, but Nookie has had the opportunity to prove it.
“God is good,” Milling’s mother, Sharon Milling, posted on Facebook shortly after the incident. “All the time. Yesterday afternoon in Alaska (night to us), He dressed one of Amelia’s many, exhausted guardian angels in fur.”
“Personally, I believe God placed him there to protect her,” the mother continued, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
There’s compelling evidence there, suggesting that Nookie is both a heartwarming example of divine intervention and a very, very good boy.
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