Tonight I received an unexpected email in my inbox: My friend Josh, a fellow blogger, writer, and genius extraordinaire, had conceived a new addition to my favorite genres of blog entries: a survivor’s true tale of survival. This was a particularly nice treat, because he’s letting me publish it here, which means that I can focus on other things like cat videos tonight instead of writing a blog entry. Enjoy this fantastic guest post:
I Was Lost on a Mountain Trail in a Crossover SUV: A Survivor’s True Tale of Survival Against All Odds
I am driving up the side of a mountain and I am lost. The night seems endless, the air is thin and getting thinner, cold and getting colder. What was once a road has become but a strip of packed earth that stretches out before me, disappearing just beyond the reach of my headlights. The woods appear to be infinite, unfathomably deep on all sides. I have no GPS signal. No phone.
This is my true story of survival.
This ordeal began with the most unpretentious of intentions – a quiet mountain weekend getaway with some old high school friends. Now, two hours after leaving home and one set of ill-advised Google Map directions later, I drive onward and upward into the oblivion, civilization but a memory. Surely, we have taken a wrong turn somewhere, and thus as the elevation continues to rise, so too does my apprehension. This unyielding, crushing terror threatens to consume me.
I’m totally starting to think this is not the way to the cabin.
But yet I go on. I must, for admitting to my wife that I do not know where we are is a fate worse than death. I cannot bear it.
To add to the ordeal, it has been nearly three hours since my last meal and so now hunger begins to cloud my judgment. Is that Bigfoot standing along the roadside or simply a hallucination produced by the caloric deficit and oxygen deprivation? I cannot know and cannot risk it. I must drive faster.
What was moments ago a dirt road deteriorates even further into not much more than a footpath covered by a bed of fallen leaves. My lovely wife Kendall has had enough. With a primal yell, she darts from the car, tearing off her clothes as she does. I catch just a glimpse of her before she disappears into the night with nothing but a loincloth to protect her from the biting mountain cold. She is one with nature now. I wish her well. Perhaps Bigfoot can give her what I could not: safety.
As the road finally dead ends in the woods, I have a decision to make. I can die here as I am clearly fated to do, or I can continue to fight, turn around go back the direction from which I came. My head swims and the world turns gray as the mountain air continues to seep oxygen from my brain. I debate a moment before deciding to give it one last heroic effort, one that will define my legacy as a man, for better or for worse.
But as I make my turn, a cascade of gunshots ring out in the distance. My God. My God, I’m taking fire. (Wait, didn’t I hear those gunshots the next day? No, it matters not; time has no hold, no relevance on this mountain.) I must not let it slow me, I must press on, if not for me, for Kendall, who sacrificed so much, including her clothes, for me. Plus, she was really cool about only nagging a little about being lost. Well, maybe a bit more than a little…
Wait, what is this? In the distance, a single light shines like a beacon. Could it be? Salvation! As hunger and cold begin to dull my mind, I know this light is my last hope. If this is not my destination, surely, this is the end for me. I can only hope that my legend will live on. And so I drive. I drive as I’ve never driven before. I drive like the cold wind that whips across this mountain top. Faster. Faster.
The light grows as I approach. The road changes now, from roots and leaves, back to packed dirt, then to gravel. Hope ignites within my bosom. As I glance to my right, I see that Kendall has impossibly returned to my side. She is shivering and covered in filth, but even in the gloom I can see that she is smiling. Smiling because she knows that this is our cabin we have found, smiling because she knows that I have saved her. Saved us.
We are survivors. We are alive.