Lost in the Woods, Chapter 3

Here is the final chapter in this three-part story.  In case you missed the first two chapters of “Lost in the Woods,” here are the links to them.

2019 September 16 Woods and Ridge 0251

The shadows of the early evening begin to change the look and feel of the woods.  Grandpa Ted has been making steady progress towards the cabin.  He expects to reach it in about an hour.

Without warning, his right foot fails to notice a big hole hidden in the grass.  Down goes Ted in pain and agony!

His ankle feels like it is broken, but he assumes it is more likely sprained.  Standing up very gingerly and a bit off balance, he tests the injured ankle.  It hurts like a son-of-a-gun, but he pushes onward.  Not even an injured leg will keep him from finding Pete and Willy before dark.

Another night sky arrives, and the brothers are still feeling the ill effects of eating too many huckleberries much too quickly.  Willy asks his older brother, “What are we going to do?”

Pete, feeling just as scared, answers back, “We need to keep believing.  Help is coming.”

As the sun sets and darkness curls around the cabin, the brothers look out the open doorway of the cabin.  From the edge of the clearing, a narrow beam of light comes from the woods.  A shadowy man hobbles towards the boys.  Pete yells out, “It’s Grandpa!”

Pete and Willy run out to meet their Grandpa.  They are smiling and talking so fast that Grandpa can barely say a word.  Finally, the reunion settles down, and the grandsons realize their Grandpa Ted is injured.  They take care of him the best they can.

With Grandpa’s help, the boys start a small fire in the fireplace.  They find the food in Grandpa’s backpack, and everyone enjoys a feast of cold beans with fire-grilled Spam from a can.  “The best feast ever!” both grandsons admit at the same time.

The brothers and their Grandpa settle in for a night of sleep in the cabin.  By dawn, all are awake and eager to begin the journey home.  Grandpa’s ankle is badly swollen.  Willy finds a longer, sturdy tree branch—just the perfect tool—for Grandpa to use as a crutch.  Pete will carry the now much lighter backpack.  Together, the grandsons will make sure their Grandpa Ted makes it back home, too.

Following Grandpa’s internal compass, the trio makes steady, yet slow progress in their morning walk towards home.  The love of each for the other will insure all make it back safely.  God has indeed been watching over all three of them.

They finally arrive at home, and Mom and Dad are overjoyed to see their two sons.  Everyone is exhausted and in need of some much needed warm food, a shower, and some rest.

The time is 11:52.  Grandpa Ted promised to have the boys home back by Noon, and he is good to his word.

At last report, Grandpa is mending at home for several weeks.  The badly swollen ankle is indeed broken!

pexels-photo-551591.jpeg

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Lost in the Woods, Chapter 2

This is the second chapter of a three-part story.  If you missed the first chapter, follow this link to catch up on the story:  Lost in the Woods, Chapter 1.

2019 September 16 Woods and Ridge 0251

With daylight growing shorter, Grandpa Ted gathers a few necessary supplies for his rescue mission.  He quickly and efficiently fills a medium-size backpack with water, food, matches, first-aid supplies, and a flashlight.

As he departs, Ted tells his daughter, “We’ll be back by Noon tomorrow.”  She and her husband hope so, yet they feel plenty of apprehension running through their already frail emotions.

Unaware about Grandpa being on his way, Pete and Willy are growing restless.  Having no food or water, the brothers decide to venture out from the cabin—but not too far.  As they search for anything to quench their thirsts or fill their empty stomachs, the boys cannot help but think of their dire situation.

With his intimate knowledge of the woods, Grandpa Ted hopes his grandsons have found the old cabin.  He knows it will provide them with basic shelter as well as a safe refuge.

Moving as quickly as his ancient legs can walk, Ted soon realizes he will need to pace himself.  His 63-year old body begins to remind him that he is no longer a young man.

The brothers discover a creek during their search, and they bury their faces in the cool water for several long drinks.  Up ahead along the creek, Pete spots some bushes which are loaded with wild huckleberries.

The boys plunge into the bushes as their hunger screams for more and more huckleberries.  Eating too quickly, they consume far more berries than their stomachs can safely digest.  Feeling sick, the brothers finally make it back to the safety of the cabin—looking pale and ready to drop.

Image result for wild huckleberries in montana

Photo courtesy of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

Stay tuned for the final chapter.  Be prepared for a few twists in the action as Grandpa Ted and his grandsons hope to be reunited.

Lost in the Woods: Chapter 1

2019 September 16 Woods and Ridge 0251.jpg

Pete and Willy can sometimes be adventurous boys.  Being ages ten and eight, they never stop finding excitement to fill up their lives while bringing plenty of anxiety to their parents.

The boys slip away from home one night for another adventure.  Taking a flashlight, they plan to wake-up all of the “critters” in those nearby woods.

Morning arrives, and the boys’ disappearance is noted by two very distraught adults.  The boys’ parents find a note from the brothers.  At least the fearless duo felt the need to inform Mom and Dad about their trip into the woods.

During the night, the brothers’ fortunes have not gone well.  Barely into the journey, the flashlight’s beam grows dimmer and finally dark.  The boys realize they should have been better prepared before departing on their journey.  A brief thunderstorm adds to their misery.  Now lost in the darkness, the wet and chilled boys begin to feel their enthusiasm fading by the minute.

Willy tells Pete, “We’ve really messed up now.”  The brothers stumble, and sometimes crawl, through the dense forest under a dark, cloudy, and moonless sky.

Finally, their fortunes change just a smidgen.  They discover a run-down cabin in a small clearing.  No lights, no heat, and no food—the boys at least have found some shelter for the rest of the night.

Back home, a frantic morning phone call brings Grandpa Ted to the boys’ home.  Ted consoles his worried daughter and her equally concerned husband, as he tells them, “I’ll find the boys.”

Ted grew up in these woods, and he knows every square mile.  He promises to locate the boys as quickly as possible.  “We’ll be back before Noon tomorrow,” Ted says in a reassuring voice filled with total confidence.

Meanwhile, the two brothers have made it through the night.  The old, abandoned cabin is not much of a place, but at least it provides Pete and Willy with a roof over their heads.

Remembering some wise words from their Grandpa, the boys realize they must stay put.  With a morsel of confidence, Pete tells Willy, “Help is on the way!”

abandoned broken cabin calamity

Photo by Spencer Selover on Pexels.com

Peril at the Falls, Round 2

In case you missed the first episode of the story, follow this link catch up on the previous action:  Peril at the Falls, Round 1.

pexels-photo-2744150.jpeg

Photo by Amal Abdulla on Pexels.com

And the story continues . . . more trouble awaits the threesome of adventure-seeking brothers.

The charging water from the falls nearly drowns out Pete’s warning.  The trio of boys has ventured far past the safety zone.

Craig stares straight down at the bottom of the deep canyon.  His eyes fill with frightened trauma.  The angry river below, with the deafening sound of the falls, is too much to bear.

He grows more and more terrified, and his eyes are locked on to the danger below.  With his eyes no longer watching his step, Craig feels his feet sliding on the steep ground, surrounded by prickly pine branches.  He doesn’t see a protruding tree branch.

Colliding with the stiff branch, Craig’s body spins around as he is knocked to the ground.  No longer on his feet, his body propels down the slippery slope like a missile.  Closing his eyes, his hands miraculously grab hold of a stout pine branch above his head.

Craig lets out a scream, “Help!  Help me!”

Pete and Gene can’t believe what has just transpired.  Somehow, they have managed to stay on their feet.  As Craig tumbles towards the canyon’s rim, he narrowly misses taking both of them with him.

Hearing Craig’s continued screams for help, the brothers need to come up with a rescue plan . . . immediately!  They are too far from Mom and Dad for any help to arrive from them.  They need to deal with the situation on their own.

Cautiously, the two boys slowly move down towards their brother.  One misstep and one of them (or both) could be taking a plunge.  The prospects of all three brothers making it out of this jam in one piece grow dimmer by the minute.

Gene steps gingerly, closer and closer, to reach his stricken brother.  He sees Craig’s grip growing weaker as the pine branch appears to be breaking loose.  Pete follows close behind, ready to help Gene rescue their brother.

The two boys stop just inches away from Craig’s hand, which has a death grip on the weakening branch.  Pete anchors himself to a larger pine branch with one hand.  His other hand reaches out to Gene.

The boys attempt to create a human chain to bring Craig back to a safer place.  Suddenly, Pete’s hand slips away from the pine branch, and he tumbles into Gene.  Both boys nearly join the river below, but Gene finds another branch to grab as well as more solid footing.

Pete’s hand replaces Gene’s hand on the branch as his other hand connects with Gene’s hand.  The boys know this might be their final attempt to save all of them from the pickle they are in.

Craig continues to shout for the boys to save him.  His impatience only makes the situation even more precarious.

Gene and Pete anchor their feet on the firmest ground they can find.  Their feet dig in for balance and stability.  With their human chain stronger than before, Gene reaches towards Craig’s hand.

The three brothers  have reached a final destination, without any more chances.  Gene calls to Craig, “You need to be ready to release your hand from the branch as I grab your hand.”

Craig nods in silence.  He is much too petrified to say anything.

The rescue line is ready to make one final attempt.  The wild river waits below as well.  The next few seconds will decide everyone’s fate.

Gene reaches for Craig’s hand while Pete provides the anchor to hold all of them up.  In an instant, Craig feels his brother’s hand and grabs hold.  Together, Gene and Pete carefully pull Craig up the slope . . . one step, then two, finally three.

At last, the brothers are united again.  They slowly and cautiously crawl and walk back up from the treacherous canyon rim.

In a few minutes, they emerge from the pine trees.  Their arms and legs bear several scratches, abrasions, and bleeding from the spiny tree branches and the hard ground.  Their dirty faces are topped with matted down hair full of pine needles.  This disheveled threesome of thrill-seeking comrades is finally safe.

Mom and Dad turn around.  They have been oblivious to everything until now.  They both say in unison, “Were you boys playing again?”

Here is a final note.  This story is based on a real situation many years ago.  My family was vacationing in Yellowstone National Park, and we stopped at one of the vistas overlooking the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.   My brothers and I went exploring a bit too close to the edge of the canyon.  Thankfully, we made it back to safety and our waiting parents.  I don’t remember them asking, “Were you boys playing again?”

Peril at the Falls, Round 1

pexels-photo-2738655.jpeg

Photo by Mads Thomsen on Pexels.com

The three brothers are excited about the family’s vacation to a faraway national forest.  Being an adventurous trio, they always seem to be finding themselves in trouble, and this vacation trip may just punch their ticket once again.

The family makes a stop on their first day out.  There is a gorgeous canyon with an incredible waterfall.  All of this waits for the family, nestled and hidden in the tall pines of the dense forest.

While Mom and Dad are gazing at the spectacular scene and taking photographs with their new high-end digital camera, the brothers three take an excursion to discover more about the waterfall.  The sound of the cascading water can be heard for miles.

Gene is the youngest brother, and the biggest risk-taker.  Nothing ever seems to frighten him.  He leads the way through the thick pines as the boys find themselves closer and closer to the roar of the falls.

The oldest brother, Pete, follows close behind.  He tries to be alert because Gene usually marches straight into harm’s way.  Trailing behind, follows the middle brother, Craig.  Barely noticed by the boys, the terrain begins to slope more and more, downward towards the dangerous canyon.

The pace of the brothers walk quickens, and their excitement grows with each step.  Gene shouts over the noisy falls, “Let’s see how close we can get to the water.”

Little does he know how prophetic his words may soon become.

Craig’s steps even more tentatively through the challenging terrain and the pines.  He notices the steep drop through the trees to the rushing and roaring river below.Pete calls out, “Keep your eyes looking up.”

Oops . . . too late!

Stay tuned for the final chapter, coming soon to a national forest near you!