Bob SpiwakBy Bob Spiwak

Voices from the Mazama past – well, not really voices, but emails from Bob Cram, who is living at a posh old-timers facility in Seattle with his lovely wife, Martha. Bob has been assuming a lot of the mundane domestic chores and notes, “I have honed my cooking skills, thanks to the frozen food aisles at Trader Joe’s and QFC.” He continues with “my health remains good with an occasional spell of terminal fatigue, generally coming on after taking a 7 on a par 3 hole.” Cram, who is well into octagenarianism, still plays golf every Wednesday.

Also from far-off Seattle comes a story of survival and international heroism on the part of Jeff Sandine. For those unfamiliar with him, he owned and instituted the first tear-down of the old and rebuild of the new Mazama Store. An intrepid outdoorsman, he related a recent tale of rescuing an elderly Korean couple on the flanks of Mount Hood in Oregon.

A couple of weeks ago he was driving from Portland to Bend, went over the Mount Hood summit and found, near Trillium Lake, a perfect place to park, gaze at the mountain and listen to the music of String Cheese Incident. A car pulled up alongside, and an elderly Korean woman approached him and asked if he had seen her two companions. They had been mushroom hunting, and were to return to her parked car. She is 85, does not speak very good English, and the couple she is looking for are in their 70s. Her name is Mrs. G.

Together Jeff and Mrs. G. drive two miles down the road toward the lake and find no sign of the people. Other roads and trails are examined, and still no sign of the missing pair. The terrain is rough, it’s now 3:30 p.m. and it’s been two hours since Mrs. G. saw them. Sandine decides it is time to call 911.

The dispatcher says someone will be there soon. Jeff is told that the missing man has had two strokes in the past. About five minutes later a deputy calls and says he is leaving Sandy and will be there in a while. Maybe 45 minutes.

The lost couple have no water, no whistle, no extra clothing.

Sandine takes Mrs. G. back to her car in the shade and tells her not to leave, and sets about checking some other trails. At one point there was a confluence of four trails. He chose the one to the left and proceeded down the hill, stopping every 50 yards or so to call, shout, make war cries. No response.

Ultimately he gets a faint rejoinder and following the sound encounters the couple. He calls 911 to tell them the people had been found and to cancel the alert. They were crying and bowing and hugging Jeff. “I never saw anyone so happy to see me in my life,” he recalls. He shepherds the pair back to their friend’s car.

They insisted on giving him $30 which he used to buy a Mexican dinner.

There’s more to this finale. Tom Brown is the international guru of tracking and surviving. Jeff was an ex-student of Brown’s, and sent him the text of the event, to which Tom responded that Jeff’s action had made his day. Brown felt certain the couple would have succumbed had they not been found.

 

PREVIOUS MAZAMAS