So let’s start in the beginning.
When I was in school I met a lot of great people who later in my life turn out to be few of my best friends. After school graduation, we all went to the hiking trip to Lithuania biggest forest and it was an unforgettable experience for all of us.
After that years past and our trips started to be more and more technical and adventurous. We started to do things that we only saw in the movies or read somewhere. And after four years of hiking, we finally decided to go to the mountains, to the place where the impossible can happen.
It happened and we were hooked and it changed our lives like it did back when in our first trip four years ago. Since that trip at least once a year we go on the adventurous trip to the mountains. It somehow connects us…
Few years fast forward here we are on 2016 we decided to travel to the mountains in the end of summer and walk from Italy to Slovenia through the Alps and I, Marius, Andrej and Jurgis were excited to dive into another adventure.
On August 2, 2016 it started.
Let’s go a few days back when I and Andrej were buying tickets to Italy.
A few months back I quit my job and decided to do what I what to do, to live life to its fullest. The only problem that you are broke when you start to do that…
So after I saw prices of tickets I called Andrej and said let’s go back home by hitchhiking, that way we will save money and have an even bigger adventure.
After 0.215478 seconds I hear okay on the other end of the phone.
The trip started in Vilnius where I, Andrej and Marius were traveling to Italy and Jurgis should join us next day since he is living in another county.
I don’t what to dive into the details of the trip, but I will share a story from the first night of the trip.
Plane landed in a middle of the day and since we are on an adventure we walked about 15 kilometers from airport to the remote park near the city center.
We found a place where we could sleep. We laid down for and in a moment wild fox attacked us. But fox just got scared and run away.
Night was warm and we their sleeping without the clothes on the tarp and all of us their feeling how bugs there crawling on our bodies and we just there throwing them of…
In the morning we found a scorpion on the tarp…
Few days fast forward and we there on August 9 and Marius had to leave since he had ticket home and in the evening we said ciao to each other.
It was somehow weird to leave Marius behind and we all felt a bit strange.
The weather forecast was showing heavy thunderstorm during the night and we decided that the only option is to go to bivak (house in the mountains for travelers) and sleep there.
At 8 pm/ we started our hike from the Gemona del Friuli to the bivak in the mountains.
After about hour into the hike, rain started but we there hiking up, the crucial thing was to reach bivak before the midnight because according to forecast this is when the thunderstorm sound kicks in.
The only problem that we only had one flashlight for three people. At heavy rain we they’re going up the mountain in complete darkness at a speed I thought my heart will explode.
Somehow we managed to go to bivak just before midnight and forecast were promising that next 24 hours will be rainy.
In the morning we decided to stay one day in bivak till weather will get better.
Since all rivers in the mountains there dry we decided to boil some rainwater.
There was a long three-day hike to Slovenia ahead of us and we needed a lot of water.
All day three of us their gathering wood and boiling rainwater in the fireplace and one moment I burned my right hand with the boiling water…
The fall in the mountains
Next morning we get up, packed everything into our backpacks and immediately started hiking.
We were motivated and had a lot of energy after a rest day. We reached the point which we there planning to reach in 3.5 hours in just 2.5 hours so it seems that everything is going really well.
It was calm sunny day and I don’t remember how it happened but one moment I lost control. I felt that I am going down and I can’t do anything.
At that moment the only thought was that I was going to die.
The strange thing that I wasn’t scared I just accepted it really calmly. I said to myself in my mind that that’s it.
After I fell down I started spinning downhill on the rocks.
In my mind, I was surprised that I am a life so I decided that I need to somehow stop rolling and save my life.
I started to grab rocks with my hand but all the rocks there loose so the there not stopping me.
Then I rolled onto small mountain pine and grab it with my right hand. That moment I thought that this is it but I was spinning very fast and couldn’t hold myself.
I realized that I have thrown away a chance to save my life and was really mad at myself and in about half a second I hit another pine and it stopped me just a few meters near another cliff.
My friends saved my life
After a fall I sat down and realized that I am alive.
But immediately I was scared that my friends could fall too.
I couldn’t move a lot but in the moment I heard how small rocks there falling down and my friend Andrej there near my. Without the talk he started to put bandages on my head, blood was running through my head all over my face.
Then I looked and saw that my hand is broken and I felt cuts on my leg also some strange feeling in my back.
Strangest thing that I never felt this much a life. In that moment I was like on drugs and adrenaline was rushing through my body.
I said Andrej that I broke my hand and that I’m feeling the cut on my leg, he immediately put the belt across my leg to stop the bleeding.
Jurgis at that moment was already calling for rescues and there telling coordinates there we are.
We didn’t have a GPS so he managed to tell coordinates from the paper map. In few minutes he said that rescue is coming and Andrej was doing hinge from stick, bandages and duct tape for my hand.
Few moments later rescue helicopter was here, the only problem there is no place to land…
Rescuers there down in a few moments and the helicopter was floating in the air and that moment felt like a movie.
The doctor came to me and started to look what happened to me and what he could do.
The most impressive thing that he didn’t do anything because my friends already have done what is necessary.
He just asked: “am I in pain?”
I said not so much.
He said that he will give my strong pain-killer in the moment when I will be on the stretcher.
They put stretcher near me and I carefully laid down after that he injected morphine to me and through the radio told helicopter to fly closer.
Next few moments there going to be one of the scariest moments of my life.
I was connected to the helicopter by metal line and we were going up. On the sides, I was seeing rocks and mountains and it felt really close.
Sound and wind from a helicopter were unmanageable and I never felt so much out of control in my life.
In the moment stretcher started to spin and helicopter fleed from mountain tops and here I was on the metal line in about one kilometer high-flying outside…
I can’t describe you how scared I was.
At that moment falling down seemed not that scary compared to this.
In about 2 minutes we there on the ground. Rescuers told me a good job now we will put you inside a helicopter and will fly to the hospital.
Morphine kicked in
In a hospital, I was happy and relaxed and was lying on the table.
All I was hearing that all the doctors there impressed by bandages and other stuff that my friends did.
Five people there looking what happened. Two nurses there cutting my clothes off and in the moment I thought its perfect opportunity to cut my nails so I started to ask for scissors because I want to cut my nails… They just said calm down your nails are okay.
Next conversation was one of the craziest I had. Remember the hand I burned a few days ago?
Doctor: where did you burned?
Me: in the mountains
D: where did you burned?
I: in the mountains a few days ago
D: where did you burned?
I: in the mountains a few days ago with hot water
D: some Italian words…
In a moment I realized he was asking where I was born…:D Morphine was working…
After the rescue operation, my friends there left in the mountains. They didn’t know anything about my condition. The only thing they know was that I was in Udine hospital.
They there left alone in a mountains with all of my things. The biggest problem that they had to hike another 7 hours to go out of the mountain tops.
In an evening I somehow managed to send SMS to them, that everything is okay.
Jurgis and Andrej came next day with some of my stuff to the hospital. I saw something in their eyes I never seen before.
They told a story how they there going down a mountains and showed few photos.
They left my backpack in the mountains because it was simply too heavy to carry on. They only took the most important things out of my backpack.
We talked a bit about everything and they seemed to be more relaxed after that.
Next day they brought me some clothes and a pack to put all my things.
Those moments when they were coming to the hospital to visit me there amazing. We there laughing a lot and since my ribs there broken I was in pain, but still happy.
We there super happy that everything turned out in a way it did.
I was lying in the hospital for few days and all I was hearing was that I have a small problem with almost all my body. you have a small problem with this… you have a small problem with that… ….
Almost no one was speaking English and the ones who did didn’t tell much to me.
On the third day, I managed to get up from the bed, I was so scared that I could not walk. Every meter was hard back then.
After five days in a hospital, doctors told me that everything is almost fine but I need surgery for my hand. They asked if I will wait for surgery here for a week or I want to go home, back to Lithuania. My response was…
I called my friend Lukas to ask if he can find me a plane ticket. After half an hour he sends me a ticket.
I had 2 days to reach an airport that was 400 kilometers from the hospital. The only good thing was that Andrej was camping in the hospital yard.
Evening before I had to leave doctor came and told me something…:
If you fly with an airplane you have a chance to die.
I told him that I already have a ticket and I’m going home. All he told.
If you fly with an airplane you have a high probability that your lungs will collapse and you could die.
This talk with a doctor shoved me that I need a new plan how to go home.
At morning I left the hospital. With Andrej helping we reached bus station which was an hour away from the hospital.
We had long ride from Udine to Bergamo.
Next day Andrej was flying home and I had to figure out how to get home. But before that, we needed to find a place where to sleep.
Since I already felt a bit better we decided that this wouldn’t be an adventure if we would not go all in.
So we found a park near an airport, looked for a remote place near the river in a park and slept there.
In a morning I couldn’t get up from a ground and Andrej had to help me to stand up.
Andrej went to the airport and I went to the bus station to figure out how to go home. Bus was the only option how to get home since I couldn’t fly.
Ten days after the fall and after 32 hours bus ride I was in Lithuania waiting for hand operation.
During the fall I broke my hand, broke four ribs, my left lung collapsed, I had small concussion, neck vertebrae moved, muscle of neck was damaged, and many many cuts throughout the body and lost a bit of blood.
I had a surgery and now after almost four months I’m
feeling good, the only problem is my hand which I still can’t use. It’s possible that I will need one or two more surgeries to recover fully.
I want to thank my friends Jurgis and Andrej for saving my life in mountains. Lukas, Marius, my cousin Tomas and his family for all the support and help from Lithuania.
The only question will I go back to the mountains?
Yes, I would. And I can’t wait till I can. I hope that my friends would answer this question in the same way. Since seeing your friend falling down and thinking that this is the end isn’t the best experience but its life…
Find more photos from this trip here: ITALY EPIC 4.0 – TRAVELING ITALIAN ALPS PHOTOS
Update on my health: LAST OPERATION. TITANIUM PLATE & BOLTS REMOVED FROM MY HAND
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