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!