Thursday, August 11, 2011

Risking Our Lives While Celebrating Our Love (Part 2)

I realize that I left out a pretty major detail of yesterdays story, the car that we drive is a 2004 Chevy Malibu. That’s right a sedan, and not just a sedan but a pretty low riding sedan. Does that put things into a little better perspective for you while also making us look a little stupider?
Now that you are armed with that important bit if information why don’t you join us again as we watch the sun set while walking trudging along the road our car can’t follow. The further we go the more we realize there is no way our car can come this way, the road crisscrosses back and forth over the creek, and there are very few openings if we were to try to go anywhere but on the road. We are pretty numb now mentally, and we just continue on knowing that this is way bigger than we are. We can’t even hypothesize about the possibilities because we can’t think of any. One of the few I could come up with I did not share, and that was the fact that we very well might be leaving our car for good.

We made pretty good time, in part thanks to the lizards on the road that kept the dog busy running forward. As the sun set we finally met up with a real dirt road, we did figure out that what we were on was definitely not a road, though we had no idea what it was meant for it sure was not us. At the last stream crossing we could see a roof in the distance and our moods lifted quite a bit. What scared me the most during this whole time was not all the things that had happened so far, but the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere and might not have been able to find help. So, seeing sings of civilization helped me out a lot. That first house showed no signs of life and neither did the second, so we continued on until we got to a home that was obviously inhabited with the lights on and cars out front.

I am ashamed to say we questioned knocking on the door, and really we know better than to have such little faith in people, but after a day like the one we were having who knew what could happen. As we debated I asked Rob what he would do if people in our situation came to our door, and that was all it took. So Rob, Murtry and I went to the door and tried to look as pitiful as possible as we knocked. At first we were greeted by two very excited terriers, who we later learned to be named Rufus and Ruby (a very significant fact being that those are the names of my parents cats). After a moment a man came to the door, looking very much like he was at the end of his day and a little wary of having strangers at his door (little did we know the amount of times this has happened before). We quickly tried to explain that we had gotten our car badly stuck, and asked if he could take us to town, hopefully to a police or ranger station. After asking a few questions of how it happened and how much gas we had the man, Randy, went inside to get dressed.
His wife, Kim, came out to chat while he got ready, and definitely put us both at ease about everything. She seemed so nonchalant about it all and was so welcoming and comfortable that I actually started to believe we were going to be ok.

Rob, Murtry and I loaded up into the jeep with Randy, and thinking we were going to town, were a little surprised when he turned back to the way we had come. Another important detail you should know, I have never done any sort of off-roading in my life and had no idea what a jeep was capable of, so you can imagine my state of mind as Randy starts driving along these creek beds. Randy had some realizations of his own as we started giving him directions, quickly figuring out that no we were not stuck on a road, it turns out what we had been following was a fire break, a term I had never even heard of before. Apparently the forest service cuts out roads/fire breaks to slow the path of wild fires, and which we were stupid enough to follow. When he figured this out, Randy got on the phone to tell Kim to throw on another pork steak because they were having company for dinner. We arrived at the car, filled it with gas and rode back down the creek bed to their house. Showing our ignorance of the type of people we were dealing with we said that we would sleep in the car and try to get out in the morning, which Randy responded to with silence. Not only did they fill our car with gas, and feed us dinner they also gave us a bed to sleep in (or at least lay awake worrying in which is what I did).

The next morning after feeding us breakfast Kim dropped us half way to the car loaded with rope and a hand wench (another thing I had never heard of until now), with wishes of luck and insistence that if we couldn’t get out to come back to their door. Though I loved meeting them, I really hoped we would never see Kim or Randy again. Sadly, and gladly all at once, this was not true. We were feeling pretty hopeful though, especially without the pressure of a dwindling gas tank, and we really did try our best to get out the way we had come. My mind had conveniently forgotten how bad it had truly been and the first time around we have mostly been going down hill. This time we were not so lucky and we were not even able to get the car up the second hill (sounds easy but all of this took us about three hours). So with the sun beating down on us and our spirits completely crushed we walked back to Randy and Kim’s house to wait for them to get home from work and somehow tell us what we were going to do.

Kim got home first and immediately called Randy, phone calls were made and equipment collected and when Randy got home all four of us hopped into the jeep ready to go. I had no idea what they planned on doing but both Randy and Kim seemed so light hearted, and almost as if they were on a fun adventure. As Randy took the road that we should have been following, the one we sadly turned off of and which was aptly named Black Diamond, Kim pointed out different sites in the distance and the animal tracks along the way. They both took turns correcting each other as they told us about the many folks that had come before us arriving at their doorstep, pointing out the spots where they had gotten stuck, slid off the road or crashed. Sadly for us no one else had been stupid enough to follow the cat trail, we were the very first, and I personally think a damn good addition to their collection of rescue stories.

I think Randy knew it first, and seeing this trail a second time around I really don’t know what we were thinking, but there was no way we were getting out the way we came. One way or another we were going to have to get out over the creek. Going through all the details would make this rather long story much longer and honestly would not do the experience justice. So I will paint it for you this way, the jeep led the way as two-to-four of us cleared out the major rocks that the Chevy could not drive over, and we crossed over the river seven times. The jeep had to pull us out three times, and we built two bridges out of logs, but we manually made a new road down Dry Creek creekbed.

When we arrived back at their house all four of us got out and hugged laughing and shaking our heads. Both Rob and I were in a bit of a lightheaded shock, we couldn’t believe we had actually gotten the car out, not including the scratches to the paint job the car had not been damaged either! We sat around with Kim and Randy for a bit, drinking beer and wine, trading stories and reveling in our success.

To say that we made mistakes in an understatement, we definitely risked our safety and the life of the car. To say that I regret it would be wrong though. I met two incredible people whose characters have given us a pretty darn good model to strive after, and we have got a story that is going to last us a lifetime. I am so happy that Rob and I go on adventures and I believe it is things like this (preferably not always so dramatic) that build a relationship that will last a lifetime, and if Kim and Randy are any indication I am right. As Kim said, all we have to do after this is pay it forward, and I intend to do so every chance I get, it is people like them, and hopefully us, that make humans so unique and this life so absolutely wonderful. Also, Randy left us with some very good advice, always go to the park service and pick up maps before driving into the mountains.

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