MARYSVILLE, Wash. -- Washington State Patrol Trooper Dan Anderson said Wednesday he is thankful for search and rescue crews who saved his life in the backcountry of Snohomish County.
"I can't say enough about them," Anderson said. "I needed help, and they were there for me."
Anderson, of Marysville, was snowshoeing eastbound through the Glacier Peak wilderness in the North Cascade Mountains Sunday when he realized he was lost and activated his emergency signal beacon around 6 p.m. That night he knew things were not looking good.
"I had just spent one night in the snow, teeth chattering and inability to stay warm...and I can only probably do a few of these nights," he said. "So I decided to go with what I knew which is...the route you just took."
Anderson, 46, purposely split from his group Saturday to snowshoe alone to Lyman Lakes before hiking to Holden Village near the north end of Lake Chelan.
Snow began to cover the trail at a higher elevation, but Anderson continued on, keeping faith because, "God and I were talking."
"It is some of the most amazing terrain you've ever seen - giant boulders and massive avalanche chutes," he said.
A few times Anderson said he fell through the snow, causing his clothing and equipment to get soaked. When he reached a ridgeline, he became face-to-face with a glacier and he knew something was not right.
"That was not on my map," he said. "That's when I knew I had to turn around."
Anderson backtracked as weather conditions worsened. After meandering down the mountain for several miles, Anderson realized he lost his tent at some point. He decided to send the emergency signal, using a SPOT beacon he packed with him.
"That's when I realized I needed help," he said. "Sometime you just have to admit you made a mistake."
Search and rescue teams had been following snowshoe tracks in the remote North Cascades that were spotted on Tuesday. Anderson even knew teams were searching for him.
"I think I saw two different helicopters multiple times going overhead," he recalled. "I know they're trying. I'm pushing hard because I don't have anymore dry socks and I know this is going to go bad if I sleep out there again."
But it wasn't until late that evening they found Anderson safe and healthy in the Miners Creek area.
Anderson, not in any need of medical attention, was reunited with his family shortly after.