Bridal Veil Falls no honeymoon for young couple

Emergency rescue needed after hikers become stranded

A daring young couple bit off more than they could chew Wednesday afternoon when they decided to venture up a steep and unstable slope in Peterson Creek Park just a few minutes' walk from downtown Kamloops.

It was the first rescue of the season at Bridal Veil Falls, but it was far from the first time emergency personnel have entered the area, which routinely traps unsuspecting hikers lured in by a deceptively easy looking slope.

"Every year we have a number of rescues," said assistant chief Dave McMahon. "It's not nice rock to climb. It's extremely unstable. A lot of these trails have been decommissioned by the City so people are not supposed to be hiking them."

However, 19-year-old Devon Johnson and his girlfriend, 18-year-old Emily Maxfield, did try their luck only to find themselves stuck with no way up or down.

"Their intention was to traverse a trail at the top and access the top of the falls," said McMahon. "They soon realized they got out of their depth and traversed along the trail that got significantly steep and loose and (they) got into real difficulty."

Johnson called 911 from the slope at around 1:30 p.m. Rescue personnel responded with two Fire Rescue vehicles carrying high angle rescue equipment.

It took 45 minutes for crews to reach the stranded couple - minutes Maxfield called "really scary."

The responders undertook a technical high angle rescue using lines and rigging and anchor points.

It took nearly two hours for each stranded hiker to be harnessed and walked down the slope with Maxfield arriving first.

"I'm not afraid of heights, but my boyfriend is," she said once both were safely down. She added they wouldn't be attempting a precarious hike again anytime soon.

She stayed to answer questions while Johnson immediately left the area refusing to comment.

McMahon extended "kudos" to the couple for calling 911.

"That's the correct thing to do. They stayed put," said McMahon. "No one was injured and everyone goes home after an exciting day at Peterson Creek."

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