Hikers united by lost hat connect over healing power of outdoors

Two men say a chance encounter on Mount St. Helens has given them a renewed perspective about the healing power of hitting the trails.

Scott Brown made a post on a hiking Facebook page Friday hoping to return someone’s hat. The post said, “did you or your friend get hurt on Helens on Thanksgiving? I found your hat!!”

Brown had no idea how special the hat was when he wrote the post. He could not have known what it means to John Wood and his son Tristan, who was wearing it when they left for their hike before dawn that day.

Wood and Brown didn’t actually come face-to-face on the trail. Wood had an unplanned face-to-face encounter with the ice on the trail when he slipped and fell.

His son, Tristan watched as his dad slipped and fell about 30-40 feet. “It was definitely scarier for me watching him slide down. It was a good thing we were close to the end of the icefall, so he just kind of leveled out very quickly,” he said.

Brown happened to be hiking with a friend up the hill and yelled down to see if they needed help, but Wood gave the thumbs up and said despite being a little banged up, he was ok. Brown watched to make sure the pair could get down ok and saw one of their hats blow away in the commotion.

“On the way down I found the hat, and it had a unique logo, Footprints of Fight I think it said, so it seemed like something significant, so I thought I would post it, see if we would find the owner,” he said.

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