The Old Woman
She had been riding along the old trail with Bo, her horse. Her dogs, Maddie and Wilson were close in tow. The noise filtered out among the trees like an eerie call. It was unmistakably the sound of an old woman in tears.
Something was wrong. The entire atmosphere changed and she had no idea why. She headed toward the sound of the crying woman, having no idea what to expect when she found her.
Tammy Stevens had been retired for a while. This phase of her life suited her well. She used it to go on nature hikes with her trusty steed and her two dogs.
The odd group went on many adventures together through the forest nearby. Tammy’s animals were like her only family and she cherished them all deeply. After all the nature walks they had been on together, Tammy never expected what happened when she went out that day.
Through The Woods
Even though she was touching 60, Tammy was fit and exercised regularly. A resident of Beavercreek, Tammy and her animals weren’t accustomed to coming across other people on their trips.
Wilson and Maddie panted happily long as they followed Tammy through the woods as she rode atop Bo’s back. However, this trip had a scary surprise in store for them all.
The Old Lady
When Tammy and her animals reached a familiar ridge, she was distracted by the eerie sound of an old woman crying. Walking through a light thicket, Tammy found the woman who seemed a little wobbly, and possibly intoxicated. Tammy was afraid and unsure if she should approach or not.
The woman spared her the decision by approaching first. It was then that she noticed that she was holding a little girl’s hand. Tammy had no idea what to make of the situation now.
The old woman introduced herself as Gayla Ann. From what Tammy could gather, she had been out in the woods with her two granddaughters when something terrible seemed to have occurred.
As Gayla was able to explain more, Tammy learned that she and the girls were hiking along the Molalla River Recreation Area. That was when 2-year-old Iris skipped ahead of them. Before Gayla or her sister could stop the little girl, she was out of sight. Gayla was in tears because she was missing now.
Gayla and her other granddaughter had already been frantically searching for Iris when Tammy and her crew happened upon them. After her initial scare, she was glad she did now. The woman’s disorientation made sense now. She was clearly traumatized by the missing child.
A lot of time had passed and the need to find Iris was becoming more critical by the minute. It was already getting dark and the thought of the little girl being all alone in a forest at night was too unsettling to even contemplate.
A Frantic Search
Luckily Tammy kept a cool head. She helped calm down Gayla and then tried to call the authorities. It was vital that they acted fast so she and the rest of the group kept searching while they waited for help.
However, they were out of cell service range, this fact adding a new layer of jeopardy to the scary situation. Tammy was forced to divert back onto the road and desperately flag down motorists. Thankfully, two vehicles stopped and after hearing her story, raced ahead to alert the nearest Sheriff’s office.
As word got around, some loggers joined the search party. It was an odd assortment consisting of men, women, a horse, and two dogs. Given how dire the situation was, Tammy was grateful for all the help they could get.
Tammy and the loggers split up to cover a larger area. Iris’s sister was afraid and very distressed about her missing sister so she was given some water and snacks to keep her calm. More time passed but there was still no sign of Iris.
Tammy knew the forest and the greater Beavercreek area well. trusting her gut, she followed the Molalla River path and hoped that this would be the right way.
Knowing that up ahead, there was a part where the north and south ends of the woods met, Tammy trusted that it was a good direction to follow. Her mind was racing. If she was wrong, it could take them further away from Iris.
Throwing caution to the wind, Tammy set out on her planned route. She took Bo and the dogs with her. Placing a large amount of trust in her loyal animals, she hoped they would be the key difference in the search.
The four of them had gone deeper into the woods when Bo began getting restless. He was a very sensitive horse so Tammy trusted his behavior. Suddenly, Maddie and Wilson took off through the brush. There was something in the bushes. It was making a weird sound and Tammy worried that it could be a wild animal.
What were the strange noises coming from the bushes? The woman was worried, but she knew she had to check. What if it was the little girl?
Tammy told her dog Wilson, “Go get her,” and he began running toward the cries. The woman tied her horse to a tree and followed him, climbing about 70 feet up a steep hill to where she found Iris sitting on Looney’s Trail, about a half-mile from Hardy Creek.
Pulling Her Out
Due to her location, Tammy had difficulties pulling the little girl out. It was a steep hill, and she knew she couldn’t do it alone. She needed help.
Tammy and her dogs then found a logger nearby who went and helped get the child back to where the rescue team was located. Everyone was relieved the little girl was alright.
But the news of the miraculous rescue didn’t reach everyone, as there was no phone service in the area. There were still people looking for the little girl.
Her grandmother Gayla was still out looking for Iris when she was found. Only when she returned to the meeting spot did she see that the little girl was rescued. The old woman was overwhelmed with joy and burst into tears.
By the time the grandmother returned down the hill, the little girl was in an ambulance, looking perfectly content with three EMTs surrounding her. They were trying to assess her situation.
Iris was checked out by paramedics with Molalla Fire and was doing well. She was healthy. She was just a bit dirty and scared.
New Middle Name
Gayla was totally freaked out. But so many people came to search that she did have faith that Iris would be found. The little girl’s family had already jokingly given the girl a new middle nickname – Iris “Danger” Nix. Iris always had a wild side, but no one thought it would get her into so much trouble one day.
Iris’ rescuers were grateful they were in the area at the right time and could help. “It was a really good story,” Tammy Stevens said. “I was so thankful.”