Spring Break Adventure - Part I

All right, that’s it! I’ve had it. No more “boy” hiking trips for me!

For Spring Break this year, we opted for a three-day hiking adventure among the foothills of the Appalachians in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. We allowed our son Joshua to invite a friend, to make the trip a little more enjoyable since we didn’t have his college freshman sister with us this time. *Sniff, sniff*

Now before I share the details of our adventure, I want to emphasize the fact that I love hiking. I grew up hiking and I even enjoy a little “rough” hiking. But what I discovered on this particular vacation, is that I do NOT enjoy “boy” hiking.

Let me s’plain.

Before we left, I was a bit concerned that the promised sunny forecast had turned dismal, with threats of rain, thunder and snowstorms.

“It’ll be fine,” my hubby Chris said.

I resigned myself to hiking in yucky weather and packed accordingly. Our first day, we arrived at OhioPyle State Park in Pennsylvania. It promised beautiful waterfalls and the rugged terrain the boys were hoping for. The day had started out raining, but miraculously stopped soon after we began our hike. The wet weather created a glowing mist along the trail, giving the landscape this cool, ethereal quality.

Pretty, right? So far, so good.

Occasionally the boys and Chris would veer from the trail, exploring little patches of wilderness. I remained ON the trail and took pics.

Again, so far so good. I could see them while they explored and I got to stay on the trail. The first trouble arose around 6:00 p.m. Josh and his buddy Daron were hiking faster than Chris and me, probably because we stopped to take pics like these:

We knew it would be getting dark soon and I could no longer see the boys’ bright-colored coats amongst the bare, brown tree trunks. So we began calling for them. And calling. No answer.

The sky grew dark and angry looking. We called louder. Still no answer.

Then it started thundering.

Have I mentioned in the past that I tend to panic easily? I think it’s safe to say that in a crisis situation, or anything that resembles a crisis situation, I’m not the person you want to be standing next to.

I started to FREAK OUT! I knew the temperature was supposed to drop dramatically overnight, and snow was predicted. Why hadn’t we brought our cell phones?! Why oh why hadn’t we let Joshua finish his Boy Scout training?! If he’d become an Eagle Scout, he’d have known what to do while trapped in a freezing cold forest. I immediately envisioned the boys lost in the woods and freezing to death overnight. I sobbed and screamed their names louder in the rising wind.

Chris grabbed my hand in an effort to calm me. “The only thing I can think is they may have taken that off-shoot from the main path back there,” Chris said, indicating the way from which we’d come. “Let’s go back and check.”

“But what if they didn’t? What if they kept going?” I cried.

Chris took a stick and wrote Joshua’s initials in the dirt with an arrow pointing in the direction we went to find them.

“He’ll never see that!” I wailed as he pulled me along beside him.

We came to the off-shoot and Chris told me to stay put while he jogged up to see if he could spot them.

I was truly hysterical now.

Hours passed (okay, it was probably more like 15 minutes) when I heard Joshua’s voice calling me. I looked up the main trail and saw the boys headed in my direction. I ran and fell onto my son, bawling like a crazy woman, and babbling incoherently about how terrified I’d been for their lives. He patted my back, while poor Daron gaped at me with wide, bewildered eyes. And Chris, hearing my screams and sobs, of course, came jogging back.

Apparently the boys had simply gotten further ahead of us than they’d realized. Both boys being possessed of good common sense, had heard the thunder and simply turned around to come back. Just as they should have. Why had we doubted them?

Needless to say, I was completely wiped out as we drove to the hotel. I only hoped the rest of our trip would be better. I should have known…


Photographs © Holly & Chris Bowne


Nancy said...

I can relate to your panic. Your pictures are beautiful, but I wouldn't like to be in the mist and cold much either.

Teresa Robeson said...

It's a mother's job to panic...how else will we save everyone else? ;D Glad the boys are all right!