Here's the narrative:
Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River (TX)
Overdue Canoeist Rescued From Lower Canyons
On February 15th, rangers Greg Drum and Beau Bracken began a search for a 68-year-old man from Albuquerque who had departed on January 30th to canoe the remote Lower Canyons portion the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River.
When his permit revealed to rangers that he was overdue, a request for assistance was put in to the U.S. Customs Air and Marine Branch out of Alpine, Texas. Drum joined the pilot to assist him with the aerial search.
The man was spotted on the Mexican side of the river near Upper Madison Falls, a Class III/IV rapid. He’d attempted to portage the rapid, but became stranded due to his physical condition and diminished supplies. He said that he’d flipped his canoe several times earlier in the trip and had lost a bag filled with essential medication.
Without his medication, he had begun to succumb to extreme lethargy and was unable to continue his trip. He said he hadn’t seen another human during his entire time on the river and therefore believed his chance of rescue was miniscule.
Drum was dropped off nearby and hiked to the man’s location. Using his canoe, Drum helped him back across the Rio Grande. The pilot waited on the Texas shore, then flew him to park headquarters in Panther Junction. He was transported to Big Bend Regional Medical Center, treated there, and released with no lasting injuries.
The remote Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic are among the most rugged and desolate locations in the Lower 48. Rangers are the only people who patrol the river along this stretch of international border
A couple of points:
1) The bureaucratic permit system one endures in many areas can sometimes be quite beneficial, even if it is a PITA.
2) Essential meds - how to deal with them when away from civilization? Keep them in a waterproof container with coffe and chocolate and other critical items?