A California hiker broke an ankle just south of the Canada border and had to be airlifted just six miles short of finishing the Pacific Crest Trail.

A California man who was six miles from finishing the Pacific Crest Trail was airlifted from the remote wilderness in Whatcom County after he broke his ankle.

Timothy Nye, 60, of Sacramento, Calif., had been hiking for five consecutive weeks, starting his final leg of the trail in Central Oregon, said Whatcom County Sheriff’s Deputy George Ratayczak. Nye was south of Castle Pass and northwest of Lizard Peak – just south of the Canada border and the end of the 2,663-mile trail – at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, when he stepped onto the edge of the trail and the ground gave way beneath him.

He lost his footing and fell about 10 feet, snapping his ankle. Nye activated a SPOT beacon so a search and rescue team could find him. But the terrain was so rough, the border helicopter that brought the rescue team had to land about a mile away.

When the rescue team of two reached Nye, they found it would be too dangerous to carry him out. A U.S. Navy helicopter from Whidbey Island was flown in to hoist the injured hiker from the trail and airlift him to St. Joseph hospital