Malory has a penchant for living on the edge, sometimes. At 18, she is already a world traveler and has done and seen more than I have at 45. She craves adventure and sometimes opts to ignore "common sense" in order to develop a huge background of amazing quests and tales.
This past weekend simply added to her internal journal of temerarious apologues.
While backpacking in the "Cache La Poudre Wilderness Area" in Northern Colorado with a group of new friends from college, she and a fellow hiker set out on a mini-hike away from the established camp. Other backpackers noted the time they left and a time they would expect to return to the campfire.
When they didn't return, the smart group contacted local authorities, who set in motion a Search and Rescue group to begin combing the area. This was just as the sun set Saturday night.
While this was taking place back at the base camp, Malory and the other backpacker realized they'd lost all sense of direction. AS A GEOCACHER, MYSELF, I CANNOT STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A GPS UNIT WITH YOU WHILE IN UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY!
They realized they were in trouble as the sun disappeared. Malory was only wearing shorts and a "spaghetti strap" tak top. They had some water, snacks, and matches. They quickly built a shelter and a fire, where they huddled as the temperature dipped down to 31 degrees that night. Needless to say, they got absolutely no sleep. They also had no idea if anyone would really realize they were lost.
At sunrise, they began their quest to "find home." However, nothing was ringing a bell for them, so they made it to the Cache la Poudre River and began following it for many miles. Eventually, they came to a highway, where they waited for a passing car. They were lucky enough to hitch a ride back to Ft. Collins. When she settled back in her dorm room, she accessed her cell phone, which had died with its old battery, plugged it in, and began calling others from the original group. However, she discovered that there were many messages from the local sheriff. Upon calling the agency back, she realized the impact of the adventure...a Search and Rescue Group was actually out in the Wilderness Area, searching for them!
As a parent, I cannot express my relief enough. I am also concerned, however, that no one contacted her family upon her disappearance. It's tough being the mother of an independent-minded, adventurous teenager. I guess, in many ways, I'm glad I didn't hear about all of this until after-the-fact, as I would have been up all night, worrying and booking a flight to Colorado.
For Christmas, even if she doesn't want it, I'm getting her a GPSr and making her swear to carry it!