British Columbia

Hiker and his Bernese mountain dog rescued after night on Buntzen Lake trail

A Maple Ridge, B.C., hiker says he's taking his dog home for a hefty, well deserved breakfast after the pair spent the night stuck at Buntzen Lake after a walk gone wrong.

Mike Niedzielski, 45, and Hunter were lifted to safety by helicopter early Monday

Hunter the Bernese mountain dog after being rescued from a trail near Buntzen Lake on Monday. The dog and his owner, Mike Niedzielski, ran into trouble on a Sunday hike. (Yvette Brend/CBC)

A Maple Ridge, B.C., hiker says he's taking his dog home for a hefty, well deserved breakfast after the pair spent the night stuck on a Buntzen Lake-area trail after a trip gone wrong.

Mike Niedzielski, 45, said he and his Bernese mountain dog, Hunter, set out along the Dilly Dally Trail on Sunday. They ran into trouble when Niedzielski slipped and fell backward, bumping the five-year-old dog into a ravine.

The hiker coaxed Hunter back to the path, but it was clear the dog had an injured shoulder and couldn't walk down. Niedzielski tried to carry Hunter — "113 pounds of love" — but gave up when he strained his back.

"I would have to lift his front paws, then lift his butt over obstacles, then it just got worse and worse and I said, 'You know what, we can't go any farther,'" Niedzielski said.

"It was absolutely terrifying."

Niedzielski phoned for help around 9 p.m. PT. It took three hours for Coquitlam Search and Rescue members to reach the pair. The team brought camping supplies and stayed with Niedzielski and Hunter until a helicopter lifted them to safety at first light Monday.

Niedzielski, a machinist, said he plans to take Hunter to the vet later Monday. Search and rescue crews praised the hiker's preparedness, saying he'd done "everything right" — from leaving a trip plan with his wife to providing his exact coordinates when he called for help.

With files from Yvette Brend


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