Sunday, July 18, 2010

Backpacking Gone Wrong

The girls story
            It was midnight on the solstice and I was still in the middle of the national park. I’d been backpacking through this all day, before the sun even had a chance to rise. I’d been off schedule for the last two days and was attempting to get myself caught up before stopping for the night. I’d left my cell phone on for the first few days of the trip causing battery to die, making it impossible for me to alert anyone that I would need an extra few days before I got picked up. I came up on one of the signs showing the trails in the park. I turned on my flashlight and checked my position. I was about a half mile from where I was supposed to be for today. I turned the flashlight back off and kept moving.
            I had good enough night vision that I didn’t need the flashlight. In fact, it was more likely to attract something dangerous to me if I used the flashlight. That would be the last thing I needed to happen. In the week I had been there I had seen someone who could actually help me get medical attention one time and that was on the day I checked in with the forest service and gave them the route I planned on taking the entire two weeks I would be here. It is only when I don’t check out with them on time that they will look for me, or any of my family for that matter. My family was never really in touch with me or anything I had planned on doing. Not since I turned to paganism at least. They were the very strict Christians who didn’t want anything to do with their heathen daughter and her sinning ways, something they stilled believed I cared about.
            I’d never been their perfect daughter. That was always my older sister, miss perfect straight A student. She went to bible classes every chance she got and the pastors loved her. If they needed someone to preach in place of one of their pastors she was always asked to do it. All of the teachers loved her and she never skipped a class or even missed with a cold. She could have the flu and still go. There was also no drinking, no smoking, and no drugs. I was caught stealing a beer from the refrigerator once (I usually got my older half brother to buy it for me since he only pretended to be an angel) and all of the sudden I was demon child. While I had my demon child status I decided to reveal everything I knew my parents would hate.
            I finally got to the point where I could stop for the night and feel back on track. I pushed the button on my watch to see it was ten after midnight. I started setting up camp so I could settle into bed for the night. It didn’t take me long since all I carried for camping equipment was a sleeping bag. I never liked carrying a tent; they smashed down too much of the grass in the area. I always liked being able to leave nothing more than a small imprint on the grass as evidence that I was ever there. As far as anyone was concerned I may as well have been a small bear that recently left its mother. It’s the way that I’d always liked it and the way it would continue to be until I found an even better way to stay warm and make even less of an impact on the environment around me. A fur blanket wouldn’t be an option like in the old days since it involved in the slaughter and harm of a poor, innocent animal. Something I would always be strongly against.
            After I had my sleeping bag placed exactly where I wanted it and placing my backpack securely in a tree I decided to do a little stargazing. I knew my internal clock would wake me up at sunrise if I wanted to be or not so it isn’t like I had any options. Plus I wanted to be able to say I got a little stargazing in while I was out and about. It wasn’t something that I could do all that often since most days I didn’t even stay up late enough to be able to see any stars. Within five minutes I fell asleep.
The next morning
            A family of five was driving one of the many trails looking for a good place to eat a picnic lunch they had packed. They thought they saw an injured camper on the side of the road so they had decided to pull over. The father was the only one to get out of the car and check on the camper. He was amazed at what he had found: a dead woman. She didn’t appear to be any older than eighteen and didn’t look like she owned anything that could have possibly been used to defend herself. He rushed back to the car and called the park service as soon as he could. He hoped they would get here before anyone else could damage the scene.
The park rangers report
            A young woman was found dead at one of the most popular resting spots. No tent was found in her bag which was hanging in a nearby tree. She had been attacked by a pack of coyotes in the middle of the night and didn’t appear to make any moves to defend herself. Too many injuries to make any definitive conclusions. A dead cell phone was found and charged, anyone who appeared to be family was contacted and viewed the body was claimed by the brother.
            Nadia Sanchez was found dead in the middle of her two week backpacking trip. She was my youngest sister and so far the most loved member of my family. She had been perfectly honest on all of her beliefs no matter how much others disliked them and didn’t want her to share them with them. Her pagan beliefs were stronger than anyone’s I had ever seen and weren’t something she would have ever relinquished. As far as her love for nature went she was even more in love with it than the Grizzly Man. If she could have lived her life without ever coming home she gladly would have. She was the best person anyone could have ever known. She will be dearly missed.

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