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Mark and Liz hiked past the barn-like structure and they hadn’t see another soul on this frigid day. The wind was mildly blowing, and the sky was cloudy.
Liz was wondering why in the world she agreed to taking a camping trip with Mark when they had this unexpected snow storm in mid-November. They hiked for miles in the summer, but this was the first time she had ever agreed to hike and camp in cold weather on the Pacific Coast Trail.
“Mark, it's too cold to be out here hiking,” Liz said as she pulled her scarf more tightly around her neck.
“Come on Liz, you’re dressed warm enough for below zero temperatures and it is only 28 degree,” Mark replied. “Don’t wimp out of me,” Mark said rather snidely.
Mark was a large man, who was 6’2” tall and weighed 190 pounds, with dark brown hair and hazel green eyes. He was a fitness trainer, and he loved being challenged.
The petite Liz had been dating Mark over the past year. She was an amateur gymnast in good physical condition, and she competed frequently. She had her long blonde hair pulled back into a long braid that ran down her back. She had blue eyes and an adorable smile with her dimples. She had just graduated from college in May as a computer programmer. However, she loved the outdoors, always living a very active life.
“I can do without your snide remarks Mark.” Liz stated. “You know I love hiking but not so much in the cold.”
“Well, we are in the middle of this hike, and it is more than a day’s walk back to the car. We can stop early and I will build a nice campfire so we can cook while enjoying the warmth. Can you hang in there for one more hour?”
“Yes, one more hour only,” Liz said. Liz kept looking behind her as she thought she saw someone following them twice already.
Camping at Night
That night Mark did build a good campfire. They just cooked hot dogs over the fire and Mark didn’t make any more negative remarks.
“I am sorry that I upset you today. I just looked forward to this time and I wanted it to be fun for both of us.”
“I did to Mark, but I don’t like it when you talk down to me. You have not done that before, so is anything else wrong?” Liz said.
“Nothing is wrong. I shouldn’t have talked to you that way.” Mark replied as he looked away from Liz.
Liz said, “Mark, I know you pretty well by now. I do think something is wrong as you were extra quiet today and you have never talked down to me like that.”
“Liz, I just found out that my parents are getting divorced after 29 years of marriage. I don’t mean to take it out on you but yes, I am upset. They have been together for all those years so why in the hell can’t they work things out?”
”Oh Mark, I am so sorry to hear that. I never would have guessed that we're having any problems between them.”
“I knew they argued some but I never knew it was serious. I guess they fooled everyone,” Mark said in a voice of bitterness.
Liz moved closer to Mark and put her arms around him without saying a word. They sat quietly by the fire.
One More Problem
During the night Liz woke Mark up, “I heard something outside our tent. I don’t know if it is a bear but I know something is close.”
Mark put his jacket on and said, “Don’t get out of the tent. I’m going to check and see what made that noise.” He had a knife but no other weapon and Liz was scared. She pulled the sleeping bag up further around her neck.
Several minutes later Mark came back into the tent. “Well, I didn’t see anything or anyone, but we have been robbed and it wasn’t a bear. The backpack with our food that I pulled up into the tree with the rope is gone. We lost almost all of our food.”
Liz said, “Oh no. So, you didn’t see anyone?”
“No or I would have tried to get our food back. I didn’t even see footprints but the ground is so dry that I am not surprised. We can look better in daylight but I imagine the food is long gone. It was probably a homeless person that was just hungry.”
If There was No Bad Luck, They Would Have No Luck At All
Liz said, “Well, it isn’t quite as cold today. If we get moving we should be able to get back to the car, which s good as we are out of food.
Mark replied, “Yeah, we should make it. I do have a couple of bags of peanuts. That will be breakfast.”
“I will be glad to get out of the cold,” said Liz.
“Eat your peanuts while we start walking,” Mark replied. They were both frustrated due to the robbery.
They walked a while in silence as they were headed downhill but Liz talked about the beautiful rivers they were seeing now.
Suddenly, Liz heard a crash and she looked up just as Mark fell. He was actually rolling down the huge hill in front of her.
Liz shrieked as she watched Mark fall. “Oh Mark, Mark, are you okay?”
Liz very carefully made her way to where Mark was lying. They were closer to the river but they had not seen a sole in the 3 days of camping. When she reached Mark she saw his left leg was twisted at an abnormal angle. She knew it was broken.
She still asked Mark again if he was okay. When she reached him he looked at her and said, “I am pretty sure my leg is broken. I can’t walk and there is no cell phone coverage here.”
Help at the Boat Dock
Liz replied, “I know. I am going to walk out of here and get some help.” She tried to get Mark in a better position. She put the rolled up sleeping bag under Mark’s head. Then, she started down the hill. About 2 hours later she saw a dock on the river with numerous boats. She didn’t see a person but she hurried in that direction.
She arrived at the dock after another 20 minutes and yelled out, “Is anyone here?” She didn’t hear a thing, so she yelled again. Then, an older man was climbing out of a small building.
Liz called out loudly to get his attention. “Sir, can you help me?” The man looked at her, nodded and started walking toward her. She said, “My friend fell while coming down the mountain and he is injured. Can you help?”
The man nodded and said, “Sure. First, I am calling 911 for medical help and we may need others as well. My name is Ted by the way.”
“Hi Ted. I am Liz,” she was almost panting as she was out of breath from hurriyng down the hill.
“Come into the boat house and get something to drink while I make the call.”
Liz told Ted what happened and a bit about Mark’s injury also. Then, they headed for the trail and met the EMT crew. They all walked up the mountain until they found Mark.
The EMTs stabilized Mark’s leg and gave him something for pain. When they arrived at the bottom of the trail Ted offered to drive Liz to her car so she could meet Mark at the hospital. Liz accepted.
Mark had a caste on his leg by the time Liz arrived. He said, “The doctor was able to set my leg without surgery. I will be here for a couple of days.”
“I am just glad you are okay, Mark,.”
“I really appreciate you Liz. You got help so quickly. You are really a strong woman, you know.”
“Thanks,” replied Liz.
“Liz, you know I love you, right?”
Liz replied, while laughing, “Is that the pain medication talking?” Then, she got serious and said, “Mark, I love you too, but no more camping in cold weather.” They both started laughing as their lips touched.
Celine Dion - The Power of Love
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Pamela Oglesby