A group of campers who got stuck on the other side of Upper Creek Falls had to be helped out of the woods Wednesday morning as the water in the creek rose with heavy rains.
Burke County Emergency Management first found the campers Tuesday afternoon after a family saw them from the other side of the creek, said Emergency Management Director Mike Willis. The campers said they were fine, but they didn’t know how they would get out the next day.
Rescue workers with the Burke County Rescue Squad, Burke County EMS Special Operations and BCEM went to the scene and the campers said they wanted to stay Tuesday night, but planned to leave Wednesday morning, Willis said.
Since the campers all had everything they needed to make it through the night, rescuers made a plan with them to meet Wednesday at 9 a.m. to help them get across the creek if conditions hadn’t improved.
At that point Tuesday, about 6.5 inches of rain had fallen, Willis said. Another inch and a half fell by the time rescuers returned Wednesday morning to help the campers across the creek.
They were able to use a 24-foot ladder as a bridge with ropes to help the hikers get across the creek. A rescuer crossed the creek first to make sure everyone had life jackets on as they crossed the river, Willis said.
No one was injured and the campers, three people in their 20s, were sent on their way home to Wilmington once they all made it out at around 12:30 p.m., Willis said.
Rain can make conditions for hiking and camping dangerous, and with rain expected to continue at least through the end of the week, Willis urged people to use caution.
“Folks need to be mindful of the weather,” Willis said. “A lot of people don’t mind camping in the rain, but they don’t realize their location in relation to getting back out when they’re ready to come out. Water can be up farther then they can anticipate sometimes.”
As always, anyone going hiking or camping is encouraged to make a plan, tell someone where they’re going and when they’ll be back, and make sure to have enough supplies for at least one or two days longer than they plan to be out.