Off the Beaten Path
Reader's Digest US|April 2021
When a hiker falls 75 feet from a mountain cliff, a young stranger goes to extremes to save her
Andy Simmons
As mountains go, 1,642-foot Squaw Peak isn’t particularly imposing. But its inviting views of western Massachusetts have tricked hikers into becoming complacent amid its steep, slippery cliffs, resulting in countless injuries and even deaths.

Henry Grant, a week shy of starting his freshman year at Ithaca College, respected Squaw Peak’s record. As such, he stayed a good ten feet from the edge while waiting for his mother to catch up to him one day in August 2019. He watched 15 or so other hikers enjoy the vista; one hiker, around 60 and dressed in pink, was peeking over the lip of the precipice with her husband.

When Grant’s mother rejoined him, the two turned to continue on their way. Suddenly, he heard a “tumbling, a thump, and another thump,” he told the Cornell Daily Sun. Then he heard something chilling: “Paula! Paula!” a man yelled frantically. Grant wheeled around. The woman in pink was nowhere to be seen. She’d fallen off the side of the mountain.

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