Knots of our hiking party staggered into the parking lot, most wearing the weary but triumphant smiles that come with completing a great challenge.
But not everyone was there. We waited. And waited. Triumph turned to concern.
Refilling our water bottles, we headed back to search and found our distressed comrade being tended to by two hikers who had found him prone and unconscious on the trail. He was coming to as we arrived, aided by one of the hikers — an EMT in his day job. He gave our friend a brief checkup and pronounced him alive.
Getting a salt tablet into our afflicted friend to help him retain water, we got him on his feet. With our help, with effort and with stops every 200 yards or so for rest and water, he made it back to the trailhead.