SAR

SAR rescued Powell couple (from left) Jenkins and Heather Clarkson after they were bucked from their mounts Saturday near Wapiti Campground. SAR resource Lee Livingston (mounted) leads them in as SAR members Carl Christensen, Anthony Peterman, deputy Andrew Palmer and Steve Haberland await them. (Courtesy photo)

A Powell couple was evacuated from an area near Wapiti Campground on Saturday after their animals bucked them off and returned to the campground without them.

Park County Search and Rescue retrieved Jenkins Clarkson, 59, and wife Heather, 44, from the Sweetwater drainage approximately 2 miles north of the campground. They were riding in the drainage when the accident occurred; Jenkins on a mule and Heather on a quarter horse.

The call came in to dispatch at 3 p.m.

Information was relayed through the Interagency/Forest Service Dispatch Center that two hikers found an injured mule and a quarter horse with no riders approximately ¾ of a mile up the Sweetwater Trail and brought them out to the campground.

A check of the vehicle registration at the trailhead revealed the owner to be Jenkins. Upon checking with the Clarksons’ son, it was confirmed the mule and quarter horse belonged to his parents who went riding earlier in the day.

SAR was activated and a ground team responded to the trailhead. In the meantime, an aircraft departed Yellowstone Regional Airport and began a search of the drainage. At 3:48 p.m., the SAR aircraft located the Clarksons at the second Sweetwater Creek crossing. However, the creek had swollen to the point they were unable to cross.

The creek was not only impassible on foot but also too deep and swift to allow ATVs to cross.

SAR then called in a local outfitter, who responded to the scene with horses and several riders.

The Clarksons were safely evacuated on horseback. Heather Clarkson suffered a separated shoulder during her fall but was treated and stabilized by SAR prior to her evacuation.

Jenkins was uninjured. Both were checked by an ambulance crew before departing the campground.

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