The day started innocently enough. Look how happy I was to be standing in the sunshine, taking an afternoon off for a long walk through Red Rock Canyon Open Space. A couple days ago, I took Ally and my friend’s dog, Idgi, for a hike through the canyon. I took a longer path than I normally do, and I expected the walk would take about two hours. But the weather was perfect and my spirits were so high that I just kept walking.



      After two hours of walking, the dogs and I found ourselves on the Intemann Trail, a path that I knew would lead back toward our neighborhood. By this time, it was getting dark, we were tired and thirsty, and the path was leading right uphill.

      What I didn’t know is that I’d have to make some turns to remain on the Intemann. Instead, I continued straight. We ended up climbing an enormous hill before I realized that I was on the wrong trail. After lots of huffing and puffing, and no water, the two dogs and I made it to the top to find only many more miles of forest ahead of us. The sun set at 6:30, and it was now 6:40. I called 911.

      Part of the way up the hill… that’ s Red Rock Canyon below, where we had just been.

      All the way up the hill, and over the other side. D’oh.
      I was feeling stupid and nervous by this point.

      Note the one bar of battery power on my phone.

      A very kind search and rescue guy didn’t mock me. After 20 minutes, he figured out where I was over the phone, and told me which paths I’d need to take to get home. I left the top of the mountain at 7pm, and he said that if he didn’t hear back from me by 8pm, he would send a search party for me.

      By 7pm, it was really dark. Thank god Mike had put a tiny LED light on my keychain, because that was the only light to guide me through the pitch dark trails. The dogs helped, too, by showing me which way to go when I couldn’t see a trail. It was a really steep descent, though, and I kept slipping and falling on rocks.

      The worst part, though, was my fear of wildlife. That forest is the home of lots of scary wildlife that come out at night, including mountain lions, bears, and coyotes. I was really scared, but managed to keep myself calm by singing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” out loud. I hoped the noise would scare away any ill-tempered wildlife, and the repetition of the song kept me calm and distracted.

      After an hour of wandering through the dark, scary forest, I finally got back to our neighborhood at exactly 8pm. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and discovered that it had gotten shattered on one of my falls on the rocks. It had been in my back pocket, and I guess I landed hard on it. I’m so glad I didn’t discover that until I got home, because I might have panicked in the woods without a functional phone.

      I hurried home and called the search and rescue guy just minutes after 8pm. Then I had a very pleasant evening of Gatorade, water, Advil, ice cream, and hard-earned common sense.

      Then yesterday I decided that I can’t live more than a day without a cell phone, so I made a trip up to Denver.

      How’s that for making lemons into lemonade? Wooho!



      I love hiking at Red Rocks with my family, but because of my daughters age we never make it up that high! Glad you made it down…too bad about the phone!

      I love your photos…you and your hubby are such amazing photographers here in the Springs.

      Nice work getting down

      Wow – that WAS a scary ordeal. Glad to hear you made it down okay!! And I’m glad you had 2 dogs with you! You’re gonna love the iPhone πŸ™‚

      iPhones Rule!

      Congrats on the iPhone purchase! Email me your phone number so I can start sending you iPhone picture/sms spam!! πŸ™‚

      Eric D

      you handled that WAY better than i ever would have!
      glad you’re home and with a new toy!

      The work YIKES! comes to mind. Glad you made it back and even more glad you had he dogs with you, they probably played a role in keeping the wildlife at bay… well and your singing, depending on how off key you were.


      You crazy cat!! No more hiking without water and maybe an energy bar!! I’m glad you made it home safe and sound, you do have a wedding to photograph in March!! hehe, JUST KIDDING!! I’m VERY glad you are safe and now you have one of those awesome new phones!! Take care!

      Holy Carp!!!

      I’m glad you are safe and ok and with phone upgrade.

      I’m so glad that you made it back safely, and that your cell phone cooperated. I got stuck out in the canyons of northern Utah one night, while we were figuring out some hunting areas for a friend who shoots bows, and it was quite the trek out. Thankfully, the friend that I was with knew the area quite well, and we were able to see the halo of lights from the city that was just over the rim of the mountains. But it was still quite a harrowing experience. I will never forget how grateful I was to see the general store, and to know that the couple that ran it was inside!

      I’m glad you made it out.

      Right now, I’m looking for trails near where my daughter’s house. I’m taking my grandson hiking tomorrow. You remind me to take some water with us.

      I got an eTrex and I love it. I wouldn’t call it dirt cheap. My wife gave me mine, but they are $200-$300. Adding a micro SD is pretty cheap, but maps are $100-$150.

      Charlotte mentioned her cell phone was running out of battery. I was trying to get around an unfamiliar part of time with my GPS as it was flashing low battery. Having an old fashion map and compass is a great backup.

      oh, man…darkness — your phone breaking – it’s fantastic that you came out of that okay!

      I’m glad the dogs were with you.

      There’s a massive forest, 200 yards behind my parents summer place..I worry about getting lost. This just cements it for me that I need extra provisions when I go in.

      Just be thankfully there weren’t any scary wild sheep out there. πŸ˜‰

      I am glad all of you made it back safely.

      You must share how you like your new toy.

      woaaah, what a story indeed! glad you made through it, and with a nice new phone to boot!

      everything ended up good πŸ™‚

      you would have found me sitting under a tree crying my eyes out! you’re crazy to be out alone! i can only imagine what mike was thinking! but, lessons learned. you made it out, had a great story and photos to boot! πŸ™‚

      Screw that, I would have flipped out! Glad you got home safe though. I want a sidekick, too. ;P

      I’ve decided you made up this story to help take the edge off of the jealousy we all now have because you got an iPhone. πŸ˜‰

      Wow!! Glad you’re okay. And good for you for getting an iphone! I will probably be buying mine in another week or two. πŸ™‚

      Holy cow Char! I’m so glad you are okay!!!!!!!


      So glad you are safe. I don’t know if I would have realized that 911 could direct me to the right trail home. Smart girl!

      What a scary adventure! Glad you got back safely, and cool new phone πŸ™‚

      oh my goodness! i am so thankful that you and your dogs are safe!

      OMG Charlotte! That sounds like something out of a movie! You are a brave lady! I would have panicked, and told the guy to come get me now!! Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!

      OMG OMG OMG!!! Mountain Lions and grizzlies? Eep!! Nothing can hurt you in the wild in Enlgand. The biggest thing we have is the red fox and they aint scary!! Or would they eat ya!
      I would have freaked out I think and ended up crying. You were very brave. I would have freaked out in England so you did very well. And classy choice on new phone!!

      Glad you made it home safely, what an adventure! Yay for lemonade – I also have an iPhone, and love it love it love it. πŸ™‚

      whew! I’m so glad you’re ok!

      I’m glad you’re alright! I got tense just reading your story. Calling 911 BEFORE it truly became an emergency situation was a very smart move. And yay, now there is an iPhone! And check you out — even the photos you take with your pocket camera are gorgeous. πŸ™‚ (As are you and those pretty dogs!) Well done all around.

      david went hiking by himself once, WAY too far, and was out WAY too late. it scared the crap out of me. so glad you made it back safely!

      Glad you’re alright! And nice work on the iPhone… Ryan is in town for a wedding and is staying with us tonight. Melissa and I have been tempting him with our iPhones the entire time. Great little machines they are.

      Oh wow, I think I would have panicked even more than you! I’m so glad everything turned out OK!

      Lindy you are too funny!

      Damn, that’s no fun. Glad you made it back safely.

      Hint: GPS. Garmin eTrex is dirt cheap and very very handy.

      o.k. I’m old enough to be your mom so… “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING GOING OUT ALONE? ARE YOU NUTS???” now…I am glad you made it safely…did your hubby yell at you?


      nice phone btw

      I’m glad you made it out safely!

      OY! Wow, just wow….thankfully you are okay.

      So glad you are safe! Your pictures make me miss Colorado and I only just got back Monday πŸ˜€

      OMG! Thank goodness you’re safe. That’s very scary, kudos to you for not panicking.

      Oh, I’m always so afraid of being alone in the wilderness after dark! Glad you made it back okay.

      And thanks for sharing your pictures! I may be moving to Denver soon, and it’s fun to see pictures of Colorado landscapes.

      Quite an adventure! πŸ™‚

      When a buddy and I did a loop of California parks, we went hiking in Pinnacles National Monument and my sense of direction was telling me that we didn’t want to continue on the trail we were on, but go back a bit and take a fork we had passed a half mile back.

      My hiking buddy was certain we were on the right track, so we continued on a little further. When we encountered a guy coming the other way on the trail, I asked him “If we continue on this trail, where will we wind up?”.
      We would have found ourselves at the parking lot… on the opposite side of the mountain ridge!

      I’m glad you made it home in one piece. Getting lost in the woods like you did is nothing to mock anyone about.

      Oh my! What a scary evening … I’m glad you came home safe.

      Holy Crap! That IS a scary story. I was thinking about the Mountain Lions too. I’m so glad you made it home Charlotte as I know Mike is too! πŸ™‚ You definitely deserve a nice treat after that. Enjoy!

      Well, I’m glad you’re safe – the search and rescue people are really great. One of my best friends does search and rescue around here, and he often misses a day of work and comes in the next day with an exciting story. (The lesson I’ve learned from him, by the way: STAY WHERE YOU ARE. They searched for a number of days for a guy – turned out he had been wandering around the whole time, so he would walk into an area after they’d searched there. Very frustrating.)

      I went hiking with my dog around an uninhabited island looking for a massive dead whale, but we went the wrong way and took the long way. The island was only accessible by a strip of land that would appear on really low tides so you could walk across. Since we took the long way we were fucked because tide was coming in. After 7 hours of walking around the island along the hard rocky beach, we realized we were screwed. I like to think my dog knew as well. He was so wiped out. Luckily the indians were camping on the island that weekend for clam harvesting and drove past us in their huge truck. They loaded us on the back with their crew and drove us to the edge of the island with the land bridge. It was a 20 minute drive back. We had to wade through half of the way back on the land bridge, but we made it and weren’t trapped on the island. Thank god. I ate the biggest most delicious and expensive italian dinner when I got back and then slept for 2 days. My dog was already my best friend but he has never been more bonded to me than after going through that.

      I have a sk now, how do you like the iphone compared to it?

      At least you and the dogs made it home safely. πŸ™‚ Sorry about your phone. That’s good the search and rescue guy did not laugh, but why would he? It’s his job to help.

      Glad you made it out! I thought that was going to be me in Ute Valley Park a few weeks ago.

      And, oooh, pretty! πŸ™‚

      WOW! what a story! glad you made it back safely. Truly scary. I love the last picture, what a reward! I’m glad you made it safely, I truly am. I would’ve been terrified because tigers lions and bears, are very scary in CO mountains!

      Charlotte Geary


      Lifestyle, event, and portrait photographer with a vibrant, joyful style and 17 years of professional experience.

      Located in Reston, Virginia near Washington, D.C. and available for travel.