We hear again from Steven and Alison Pearson with additional details concerning last week’s post, The Picnic. I’ve also included several of their photographs throughout the sequel. (Permission granted.)
February 9, 2012 (Steven)
Hope all is well for you and your family. Back to memories of the rescue.
When Alison got a phone call telling her about the helicopter stranding, she decided to head out to Finch Hatton Gorge. Alison left our three children with her sister and family and then drove our Mitsubishi van to the picnic area in the gorge at the bottom of Mount Dalrymple. She waited there with the others as they were getting the local State Emergency Rescue team organized and prepared to head off up the mountain to meet us.
It was a great group of people keeping up each others’ spirits. The poor school principal suffered and ended up sick, then dry retching. Really not good as there was no water to drink. She would go as far as she could and then flop down for a rest. It took a bit to get her going again but that improved as the hours went by.
As it got dark in the jungle, when the torches came into use out came the night wildlife. Amongst them were the large cane toads, normally considered a pest, but for once they had a blessing. The school principal was scared of toads, and it happened that when she sat down for a rest it would not be for long before a toad would move near her. She would be up and off—down, down, down ever so gradually taking care not to have injury or such.
At about midnight we reached the walking track that went from the picnic area up to Dooloomai Falls, so I got the ladies to sit down. All the men followed the narrow trail up to the top of the waterfalls, a 300-foot drop off with running water and a small pool, where we each had a big drink, fresh running water. Most of the men had purchased brand new hats, akubras, for the special day. So they christened them by filling them with water and carried them back down the trail to where we had left the ladies. They all had a good drink, and we were on the way again. This was where we walked very carefully along the trail as it dropped 100 feet off the edge.
Not long after the oldest fellow—the one with the weak heart—Roy a Catholic, got excited. Thoughts had come alive. Here he was wandering in the jungle with Lord Finch Hatton, a local business man Godfrey—God for short—following the torch. Roy speaks up loudly for all, “Oh isn’t this great, I am walking with the Lord and God and I can see the light.”
That stirred everyone on, and we managed to keep going safely until about 2 a.m., when we met the S.E.S. rescue team with a stretcher.
They checked to see if anybody needed to be put on the stretcher and carried out. There was one. Yes, the poor school principal was exhausted. Remember she was rather well rounded. Would have been quite a load for the stretcher bearers as the trail was narrow and most places would only allow one on the front and one on the rear to do all the carrying.
There were leeches in the jungle. They got on us, sucking blood and dropping off when full. Their bite hole kept running and left a blood train on the clothes, and when I walked out into the picnic area at 4 a.m., I was met by very concerned ambulance and Alison. I had leeches on my throat area and the front of my shirt was all blood stained, as though I had my throat cut.
After we all got checked out, Alison and I took the Lord in our van to her mum and dads home about 50 miles away in Mackay, as he had functions to attend to in Mackay later in the day. When we got there, the Earl had a shower and went to bed. Later we woke him and Alison gave him a cooked breakfast. That was a real deal for her elderly dad and mum and something to tell her very English neighbor—they had a genuine English Lord for bed and breakfast. I loaned him $100 because he did not have his wallet with him. Then I drove him over town to the RSL Pub for a function with the local taxi drivers. Apparently, he was patron to taxi drivers home in England.
A few years later a few of the group traveled to England to the House of Lords and had a reunion with Christopher. Unfortunately, I was not financially well enough off to take part. Christopher has since died.
February 9, 2012 (Alison) Excerpts from Alison’s email follow:
They (rescue team) asked me what I thought (Steven would do). I said that there was no way Steven would walk them all back up hill. He would walk them down off the mountain into Finch Hatton Gorge, which he did.
Steven came out last, and they all rushed toward him as he had blood running down his throat and chest. They thought he’d cut his throat with Lawyer Cane, but it was just where he had been chewed on by leeches. It takes awhile for the blood to clot after they have fallen off. Anyway, that was a great feat that they all came out of there with no injuries. The Earl of Finch Hatton had leeches in his shoes and was beat. He had to be in Mackay the next morning for a luncheon with the taxi drivers of Mackay, as he was Patron of the taxi drivers in London.
Anyway, we had a quick phone call to my Mum to let her know we were on our way home. We got back into Mackay with the Earl of Finch Hatton—Christopher Finch Hatton—with us. Mum met us at the door and was a bit flustered—a real British Earl to stay in her home! I made up the bed Steven and I generally use, and after Christopher had a cuppa and a shower, we were in bed a bit before dawn. We were up again after a couple of hours. With a full English breakfast he was off.
Dad was really chuffed that we brought the Earl into his home, and he was able to offer him hospitality. Mum was really chuffed too, as our neighbor is English, and Mum had a one up on her having entertained an English Earl.
I was confident in the LORD —and Steven—bringing them all down safely. The LORD blessed Mum and Dad too in bringing comfort to a really nice man from the other side of the world.
All the people who were in the rescue, except for Steven and myself, flew over to London for a reunion the next year. Sadly since then Lord Christopher Finch Hatton has passed on as have a couple of the rescued, but I reckon it was the most remembered event in their lives after that. It made the news in England.
I was glad to have my sweetie back, but I never ever doubted his ability to bring himself and all the men and women out safely. The Lord was with them.
Well, I must go now, or you will be reading this for a long time. I can write novels at times if I don’t watch myself. May the blessing of the Lord be multiplied to you and yours now and always.
With our love in the Lord,
Alison and Steven
I have enjoyed reading the postings of our stories. I’ve read through them, and the thing I can still remember the most is that it was well past my bedtime. I was really, really exhausted from the waiting. I think I tried not to nod off to sleep. How much of a battle it was. Steven and the Trekkie’s had it far worse than me. They had to walk through it all. They all came out tired but in really good spirits. They had all missed the ball that was put on at Finch Hatton in honor of the Earl’s visit.
Kangaroo Plant and Animal
The Pearson’s generosity and kindness in sharing chapters of their lives have brought many smiles to my face. I look forward to posting more of their Australian bush adventures in 2012.
Next weekend return to Corinth Rose for a chilling episode in my own life. It has been frozen in my mind, never to thaw.
Don’t forget to visit my website if you haven’t been there recently: www.corinthrose.com Thanks for dropping by.