BEND, Ore. — An 82-year-old retired doctor from Bend who hiked to the top of Oregon’s third-highest mountain says he really didn’t need the helicopter that others on the trail called in after watching him making his way slowly down the mountain.
“But everyone was clustered around me and we’d had such a nice visit, so I went,” said Robert “Franc” Haynes in an interview published Friday.
Haynes makes an annual trek to the summit of South Sister, at 10,358 feet. It doesn’t require technical climbing skills.
This year, he set out Sunday morning, reached the summit, and about 8 p.m. camped at Moraine Lake. He knew he would be staying the night and came with a hat, gloves, a thermal blanket, energy bars and sport drinks.
“I got down in the bowl by the lake to keep out of the wind,” he told The Bulletin newspaper in Bend. “When the wind would shift, I’d move to another spot or do some exercises to keep warm.”
The next day he headed on down the trail, his pace drawing attention.
“It really was a shuffle,” said Chris Sabo, a trails specialist for the U.S. Forest Service who came to Haynes’ aid when other hikers called 911.
“I was checking his speed as we went on my GPS, and it was 0 miles per hour up to about 0.6 miles per hour.”