I have a purpose in life. I don’t know what it is but that’s why I’m here, that’s what I’m working on. I was in love with the same boy for as long as I could remember, his name was Liam. As kids, we grew up together in a small town called Silverton, OR. We did everything with each other, which made us feel so connected. Almost as if when he got sick I got sick, when he got tired I got tired, if he was unhappy I was unhappy, you get the idea. Cancer took Liam away from me when we were fifteen and shortly after that my mother passed as well. It’s been five years since, and I still think about them everyday. I know their spirits will always be with me which is why I have to do this for them.
I decided to plan out my escape into the Bighorn Mountains. It was going to be a long journey and I’d be going into it with no help, I refuse to take a guide with me, this is simply something I need to do alone. I started packing up all the things I thought I’d need. I started with clothes, It’s midsummer so I was sure it wouldn’t get that cold out. I grabbed my Dueter backpack and stuffed in two pairs of cargo shorts, a pair of hiking pants, a long sleeve, two short sleeves, one thermal, long johns to sleep in, and a handful of underwear and socks. In the bottom compartment of the bag I carried my 40 degree sleeping bag and a silk liner to match.
On the side I strapped on my one person tent, a customized sleeping pad, and a gallon of water hanging on the other side. I filled the top pocket with all the portable foods I could find, grabbed a full box of Clif Bars and some oatmeal packets. I also threw in a few of those Mountain House just-add-water food bags because I assumed they’d be easy to make. Finishing off with utensils, a cup, and a bowl I threw in a map and closed up the bag. It seemed huge and intimidating but how heavy could it really be? Picking it up it was seemingly light compared to what I had heard people say about their bags in the books I had read about hiking.
It was finally time, I had been driving almost a full day. All of a sudden I heard the car making a mysterious noise I had never heard before. It shuttered to a stop on the side of the road as I started to panic. Two hours away from the nearest town and three from my destination. I got out of the car and started searching for the manual in the trunk. It was somewhere, buried amongst my camping gear. There were no cars passing, the woods surrounded me seemed dead silent. I sat back down in my car after finding the manual, and started to have trouble breathing. The hot air from outside started to enclose around me and I could feel myself hyperventilating.
I poured half the gallon of water I had brought over my head, pushed my seat all the way back and started to lay down. I grabbed a wad of paper towels, drenched them in the water and laid them on my face to keep me from getting too hot. I continued to get hotter and hotter anyway, so I reached over to the passenger seat for my inhaler, as soon as I realized it wasn’t there I started to panic and hyperventilate more. I could see my vision fading, black spots filled my eyes, I was becoming very light headed. As I sat with no inhaler I was comforted by the slightest scent of gasoline. My eyes started to close, all of a sudden I was gone.
When I woke I was in the same spot. I tried to check my phone but it had died and it was starting to get dark out. My watch read 9:47pm. Instead of panicking over the fact that I had very little water, no way of communication, and my car was not working, I decided to eat a couple Clif Bars and call it a night. I pulled out my sleeping bag and silk liner and threw them down into the back seat. I shut all the doors behind me, locked the car and scooted down into my sleeping bag. I was positive someone would find me in the morning and I would only have to power through one rough night. My eyes closed themselves and my breathing settled to a stop.
Park rangers found me at 11:32am. I felt so cold but I found solace in it. They broke my car door to get me out but I didn’t think it was that dier, they could have just knocked on the window to wake me up. I got out of the car and stared at them blankly because they weren’t listening to anything I was telling them. One of the men called 911 but I kept telling them I was fine and didn’t need an ambulance. I felt someone’s arms around me as if I were being held. My whole body filled with warmth like the life was returning into me, I turned around to see Liam smiling at me and telling me everything was going to be okay, he told me I was going to go see mom and that we were all going to stay together. He told me it was okay that I didn’t make it to the mountains. He told me I was safe.