WHEN a missing special-needs woman was found after four days alone in the forest near Sasamat Lake "she looked like a frightened little fawn" emerging from a nest of ferns, said rescuer Connie Deboer.
For Deboer, a five-year member of North Shore Rescue, the moment when 21-year-old Joy Zhang stood up in the forest was a huge moment of relief.
"I said: 'I'm your friend. I'm going to take you home to your umma and appa.'"
Deboer was among several members of the North Shore organization who, with other search teams, spent four days combing the bush near Sasamat on the weekend, looking for the missing woman.
The night before she found Zhang, Deboer said she woke up with the sudden thought that she should look up the Korean words for "mother" and "father" in case it helped in the search.
Zhang was on a field trip with a special education program on Thursday when she and a friend broke off from the group. The friend - who also has developmental challenges - was found later Thursday evening.
But finding Zhang - who has the mental capacity of someone half her age - was more difficult.
Searching for a child, or an adult who has developmental challenges, is an especially tough task, because they often do not respond to searchers' calls, said Deboer. "You have to think like they do," she said.
Instead of calling out loudly and assertively - which might cause a child or autistic adult to hide - Deboer said she called out to Zhang in a very soft "motherly" singsong voice.
She was doing that on Sunday, as part of a five-person team traversing a steep forested slope, when "I heard this tiny little response, 'I'm over here.'"
Using the same singsong tone, Deboer convinced Zhang to stand up and let herself be seen.
When she reached the young woman, Deboer found her scratched and dehydrated but basically unhurt.
"It's kind of scary in the jungle,'" Zhang told her rescuer as they waited for additional help to arrive.
"I said, 'I know. It can be."
Deboer, whose own daughter is 24, said putting herself in the position of Zhang's parents is one of the things that drove her to search through 14-hour days.
"It motivates you to carry on," she said. "It's rescues like this that really get you through the tough ones."
The long weekend was also busy for North Shore Rescue closer to home. Two people were rescued from the Grouse Grind, where large numbers of visitors made the hike up the steep trail - many of them ill prepared.
On Friday night around 10: 30 p.m., rescuers came to the aid of a 34-yearold woman who had collapsed with severe dehydration just below the threequarter mark.
On Monday, rescuers assisted a man in his 40s who had a seizure around the same point in the trail - likely due to a medical condition made worse by dehydration.
Tim Jones, spokesman for the volunteer organization, said anyone heading up the Grind should drink a litre of water before starting and carry a minimum of one litre of water per person.
Jones said too many people have been heading up in the heat with inadequate water, wearing flip-flops and generally not well prepared.
Rescuers were also called out Thursday, when two teens from Germany who were part of an international Scouting troop got separated from their group on the Baden Powell Trail.
Luckily, the teens made it to a ranger station and were reunited with the group before a full-scale search was launched.