An Edmonds family is holding each other closely this week after they were subjects of a daring helicopter rescue in the Olympic National Forest.

D.J. Wilson and his friend Michael Howard led their children on a backpacking trip near La Push. It's an area they know well.

But this year, they decided to take a short cut.

"We went right at low tide, we were timing it as well as we could with the tide tables," said Wilson. "We just didn't see how long it would take with four kids."

Suddenly, high tide came rushing in, pinning the group up against a cliff face.

Howard and his daughter decided to risk swimming for shore.

Wilson, his two children Annika, 9, and Carsten, 10, and their cousin were forced to scale the rock wall for safety.

"We all had a shock of coldness," said Carsten. Waves kept smashing them against rocks.

Wilson found an 18-inch ledge, 60 feet up the cliff and held the three children tight.

All they could do was wait.

Howard was able to access an emergency beacon in his backpack and signal for help. That signal notified park rangers and the U.S. Navy.

Soon a helicopter was on the way.

"I don't think we would have been comfortable trying to stay the night up there. And that was clearly in the cards."

But Wilson and the kids were at first unaware that help was on the way. After six hours, they were plucked from the cliff face. Wilson said seeing the helicopter was a huge relief.

"I'm unable to explain how terrifying it was," he said. "We use the word 'terrifying' loosely. I mean it literally."