When 21-year-old Amelia Milling traveled from Tennessee to hike through Crow Pass Trail in Alaska’s Chugach State Park, she probably never imagined she’d end up falling and injured at the bottom of a ravine. Young people are famously optimistic when it comes to dangers like this, and I’m sure Amelia was no different. As an experienced hiker, Amelia doesn’t have a lot of fears, even though she has the added challenge of being deaf. She’s a courageous young woman who dives into life with all of its adventures. The famous hike that’s about 30 minutes outside of Anchorage, Alaska is a hiker’s dream, and Amelia was ready for it. However, this trail is one that’s challenging even for the most prepared hikers.
When Amelia was about four miles into her hike, something unexpected happened, and it was something that every hiker anticipates, prepares for, and dreads. Amelia was using trekking poles, and one of them unexpectedly broke and snapped, causing her to lose her balance. As she was falling down, she went through a snowy portion of the mountain, falling approximately 300 feet. To make matters worse, she hit a large boulder and continued to slide another 400 feet down the mountain. She was terrified, but it probably all happened very fast, as these things do. Amelia knew immediately that she was injured and she rested without moving for a while to give herself time to assess her condition.
It was then that she saw an animal approaching her. At first, she thought the animal was a large white wolf and she felt herself beginning to panic. However, as the animal made its way closer, Amelia could see that it was wearing a collar around its neck. Breathing a sigh of relief, she realized that the dog was coming to rescue her. When the dog got to her, she could read the tag on his collar. His name was Nanook. Nanook began leading Amelia up the trail, but they couldn’t make it and Amelia had to spend the night at the bottom of the ravine. However, Nanook never once left her side.
About 24 hours later, Amelia felt she had to do something to try to save herself, so she began to try to cross a river. The current immediately began to drag her under and she was terrified. However, Nanook was right there beside her. He quickly grabbed the strap of Amelia’s backpack and pulled her up to lift her out of danger. Amelia was able to get herself out of the current and back to dry land. It was from there that she was able to retrieve her SPOT beacon, a GPS device that gives rescuers a signal with a hiker’s location. Before long, the Alaska State Troopers came to her rescue.
While grateful for her human rescuers, Amelia is no less grateful for her new friend and hero, Nanook. Had it not been for him, she is certain she wouldn’t have survived. As it turns out, Amelia isn’t the first person Nanook has rescued. He once saved a little girl who had fallen into the river. As it turns out, Nanook is a trail guide dog. Amelia says that Nanook gave her the motivation to get up and walk another seven miles. Watch this inspiring video below.