|Granite Section of Trail, Yosemite 2011|
After crossing Return Creek, the riders headed up a moderate manzanita-covered slope; eventually the trail began to parallel Spiller Creek. At one point the trail narrowed and crossed directly over a sloping section of polished granite. Mike was directly in back of Hali and Chip, so he saw the whole thing: Chip's front hoofs slipped on the granite, he attempted to regain his balance using his rear hoofs, which also slipped. By now he was weaving and bobbing, not wanting to fall down. Eventually he righted himself and continued on . . . but without Hali. She had been dumped onto the granite.
It was immediately evident that she had sustained some kind of serious injury, since she couldn't move her right leg. Luckily Chip hadn't fallen on her, nor had she lost consciousness. (As an experienced horse rider, she possibly was more aware, and prepared for, this experience.)
The accident happened at 2:00 PM. Eventually Ivana left to return to Glen Aulin to phone for a helicopter and Mark helped Hali scoot off the trail.
As it happened, a seasonal USGS survey crew was on the trail with a satellite phone; Mark was able to contact Yosemite HQ and requested a helicopter evacuation. The welcome sound of helicopter rotors was finally heard sounding through the canyon at 6:00 PM.