A woman was rescued Tuesday after she became trapped on a steep hillside below Foulweather Bluff in the Kitsap Peninsula.
31-year-old Emily Garnett is from London, but is visiting family this week in Kitsap County. She was on a run along the beach in the morning when she got into trouble in an unfamiliar area.
"My idea was that I wanted to run all the way around Foulweather Bluff, not knowing it was actually impossible," she said. "And all of a sudden the tide started to come in quite fast."
Garnett tried to climb up a roughly 300-foot cliff to escape the rising waters and became stuck when she couldn't navigate the muddy terrain.
"I made it halfway up the cliff with a lot of difficulty," she said. "And I got to an area where I couldn't go any higher."
She also couldn't return to the ground, because by then the tide had come in and the beach below had essentially disappeared.
"I called 911 and the emergency department was very quick and responsive, I have to say," she said. "It was very, very cold. That was my main worry. I had scratched my leg up a bit, but it was more the fact that I was absolutely frozen stiff."
Firefighters managed to locate the woman in 15 minutes, but the careful rescue took about two hours to complete.
Crews from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue determined there was no safe rescue route from the top of the cliff. Instead, they used a boat to reach the cliff at the water's edge. Then, a firefighter scaled the muddy terrain and helped bring Garnett down to safety.
She was later evaluated by paramedics. Despite the wind-chilled temperatures, once she warmed back up, Garnett said she felt okay.
"I must say, I'm not used to the nature here," she said. "I've learned not to test nature. You should never tell yourself you can do something when you're not a hundred percent sure."
It's an important lesson that firefighters in Kitsap County preach all year long.
"If you're not familiar with the tide tables and not only the tides but the terrain, it can have a compound effect," said Rick LaGrandeur, the assistant chief of operations for North Kitsap Fire & Rescue.
Firefighters encourage hikers and runners to equip themselves with information about the area before setting out in unfamiliar territory.
Garnett thanked firefighters for keeping her calm throughout the rescue.
"It was very comforting actually, the way they handled it and didn't let me panic at any moment," she said. "I have a lot to thank the Kitsap County firefighters for, because I was very scared, I have to say."