Last updated: October 1, 2012 4:48 pm
After hiking accident, King's student returns to reality
HALIFAX (CUP) — Elizabeth Orenstein is chatting animatedly in her first apartment, having only moved in last week.
She’s hustling about, making tea and talking about how she’s spent the past few days scrubbing down every surface of her new home with her mother and stepfather.
Ten days before today, she could barely stand and couldn’t sleep through the night. Less than a month before today, she was lying at the bottom of a ravine, unconscious, blood dripping from her ears and nose, with a friend screaming her name and hoping she wasn’t dead.
“He looks up and he says, ‘You be careful’ and I go, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll be fine. You be careful too.’ And then a minute later, my foot slipped and my hand slipped and I somersaulted backwards for 15 feet and then was in freefall for 15 feet. I landed on my head, neck and shoulders with my body bent back over me.”
“He” is Adnaan Stumo, a friend from the second-year King’s student’s hometown of Great Barrington, MA. On Aug. 21, Orenstein and Stumo were at Sages Ravine in Connecticut on the most recent of many hikes together.
“We were hiking up a trail that apparently a lot of people fall off of,” says Orenstein. “I, as the idiot local, had no idea.”
The pair had climbed quite high when Stumo, noting the rock was slippery, suggested Orenstein climb back to the trail. It was a 50-foot, uphill trek. After 30 feet, Orenstein opted for a shortcut.
“I don’t even actually remember slipping,” she says. “He told me I slipped, and I can think through it, but I don’t think it’s a real memory. I think I was holding onto a sapling or something to steady myself. Then the moss slipped, or the leaves or something.”
“It must be a one or two-second memory of falling backwards. … I was like, ‘Huh. This is really bad. I’m either going to die or I’m not.’ I was very, sort of, relaxed about the whole thing. I thought I was moving really slowly and the colours were really bright. My adrenaline must’ve been crazy. And then I think I passed out.”
Orenstein thinks she survived because she passed out before landing at the bottom of the ravine.
“I was so limp when I hit that I just flopped.”
Orenstein told her mother, Sarah Bingham, who Stumo had just called, that she was fine and intended to hike back out.