Hiker Doesn’t Remember Getting KO’d by Lightning

I don’t know about you, but I think if I got struck by lightning during a hike, I’d definitely remember it. That’s why when I saw this story I had to throw it your way and see what you make of it too. Let’s throw this one in the realm of “news of the weird.” – Tony

Brandon Baker, 31, of Princeton, Minn., has no memory of being KO’d by lightning in the mountains of Colorado.

By late afternoon Wednesday, Brandon Baker had reached the 14,259-foot summit of Longs Peak, highest in Rocky Mountain National Park, northwest of Boulder, Colo.

The sun was bright, the view exhilarating. But then clouds rolled in and enveloped the peak. Suddenly so much static was in the air that he could feel his hair standing on end. It began to pour.

“I saw a couple of lightning bolts,” said Baker, 31, of Princeton, Minn. “I crawled up under a rock ledge.”

He planned to ride out the storm, take in the dramatic natural fireworks and then hike back down. Those thoughts are the last thing he remembers.

“The next thing I knew, I woke up the next morning,” Baker said.

Lightning had struck Baker, who talked about the experience Thursday by phone from his bed at a Denver hospital, where medical staffers told him he was lucky to be alive.

Mysterious head wound

Baker said that when he woke up on the mountaintop, he didn’t know what had happened. His legs were sore, his toes and fingers were “kind of numb” and he wobbled as he walked, but he chalked up those things to hiking a long distance and sleeping outdoors in a light jacket. He started hobbling down the mountain.

Along the way, he met a camper who was climbing up to find him. Baker had earlier left his backpack with the man at a campground, to make his climb easier. When Baker did not return, the man had sent his son to find park rangers, while he ascended to find Baker.

“Have you seen your head?” the camper asked Baker.

Baker reached up. He had a wound about the size of his fist on the back of his scalp. Surprised, he thought he must have hit his head on the ledge.

Farther down, he met a park trail crew coming to look for him. They sized it up almost immediately: They told him he had been hit by lightning.

“I’m pretty sure it knocked me out completely,” said Baker, who was given emergency medical care by the crew. They helped him down to the base of the mountain, where he got more medical care. Early Wednesday evening, a helicopter brought him to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver.

From his bed in the trauma unit, Baker said that he felt pretty good — considering.

“I have a mark on each foot, a mark on each elbow, [and] I have a mark on my left shoulder blade,” said Baker. “It looks like I was hit by one blast.”

Source: Star Tribune

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