Deaf hiker falls down a mountain almost 700 feet, but a husky saves her before rescuers find her

Amelia Milling, a 21-year-old deaf student at Rochester Institute of Technology, had big plans for her summer break. She was determined to take on a challenging solo trek in Alaska’s Chugach mountain range, known for its rugged terrain and harsh weather conditions. Despite her deafness, she had a passion for adventure and wanted to push herself to the limit. Her plan was to hike the Crow Pass trail, a 23-mile journey that would take her through steep mountain passes and icy river crossings.

But on the second day of her hike, Amelia encountered a patch of snow that proved to be more dangerous than she had anticipated. She slipped and fell, breaking her trekking poles and tumbling down a slope for almost 300 feet. Despite the severity of her fall, she miraculously escaped with no broken bones. However, she was bleeding and injured and faced the daunting task of finding her way back to the trail on her own.

That’s when a furry companion appeared seemingly out of nowhere. At first, Amelia thought the white dog was a wolf, until she noticed the bone-shaped tag that read “Crow Pass Guide, Return to…” and included an address. The dog, a 7-year-old husky named Nanook, became her constant companion for the next day and a half.

Nookie, as he was affectionately called, refused to leave Amelia’s side, inspiring her to keep going even when she felt like giving up. She referred to him as “Alaska’s version of Lassie” after he assisted in her rescue. Nookie guided her back to the path and hiked with her until dark. Despite having a tent, Amelia welcomed Nookie inside, but he preferred to stay outside. In the morning, to her surprise, he was still there, waiting for her as she unzipped her tent.

As they continued their journey, Amelia faced another obstacle: the Eagle River crossing, a frigid and fast-moving glacier-fed torrent. She attempted to cross it twice but failed both times, even falling into the water the second time. After being submerged for more than 15 minutes, Nookie came to her rescue by biting her rucksack and dragging her out of the water. She would later say that she was still in danger despite Nookie’s efforts to get her out of the frigid water.

Amelia realized that she needed help, and Nookie seemed to sense it too. He refused to let her cross the river again and instead urged her to use her satellite messenger to call for help. She placed the device on the ground, and Nookie spun in circles until she pressed the “SOS” button. She remained huddled on the riverbank for many hours, struggling to stay awake as numbness and exhaustion set in.

Eventually, Alaska State Troopers received the distress signal from her SPOT device and sent a helicopter to locate her. They found her wrapped in her red sleeping bag with Nookie cuddled up next to her, having kept her warm during the long wait. The troopers transported Amelia to a medical facility for examination, while Nookie was transported home.

After Amelia recovered, she spent time with Nookie and his owner, Scott Swift, whom she credits with saving her life. Nookie was awarded an honorary Alaska State Trooper for his bravery, and Scott was amazed by the dog’s heroic actions. However, this was not Nookie’s first rescue. According to Scott, Nookie had a habit of leaving for days at a time and returning with hikers or skiers he had met along the way. Scott had even engraved “Crow Pass Guide Dog” on Nookie’s collar to reflect his incredible talent for guiding lost hikers back to safety.