BY DEBBIE CAFAZZO, Staff writer
Lisa Nevin of Puyallup headed to the mountain with four friends Sunday morning for her first snow shoe hike.
They decided to start on a short loop trail at Longmire.
As they stood waiting to cross the road, they noticed the line of cars stopped for the tire chain checkpoint.
“My friend said that a lot of people lie to the rangers about having chains,” Nevin said. The friend pointed to one car in line, and said that it would probably have a hard time making it up the mountain without chains.
It was on Tuesday that they realized the car they noticed belonged to Barnes. Nevin’s friend recognized it from pictures police circulated to the news media.
Nevin said her group didn’t see Barnes run through the checkpoint. But she said that once they were out on the Longmire trail, they heard sirens.
“I thought, ‘I came up here to get away from this,’ ” she said.
She assumed that the sirens were responding to a vehicle crash – perhaps involving someone who hadn’t put on their tire chains. But when they talked to a ranger, he told them that a ranger had been injured.
Her group proceeded up to Carter Falls, past the Cougar Rock camp ground. By the time they emerged from that trail about 3:30 p.m. and made their way back to Longmire, the parking lot there was packed with law enforcement vehicles. They noticed a helicopter overhead.
“We realized the danger of the situation when we hit Longmire,” Nevin said.
A ranger asked if they had seen anyone walking along the road, or if they had noticed any fresh tracks in the snow along their hike. They hadn’t.
It was only during their journey home that they heard a radio news report on the car radio about the shooting.