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Lost In the Sierras Alone

 On a whim I decided to go on a hike in the Sierras one weekend. As a college student living in Merced, I'm not far from Yosemite and there's no one around to check on me since I live in a condo. Anyway, I packed up some water, extra clothes, a map, and a sleeping bag just in case of an emergency. So I read the map wrong and got lost on some unpaved backcountry road in the middle of a sequoia forest. I tried driving my little Toyota Corola along a narrow trail along some river. Bad idea! I couldn't go forward because the road became too narrow, so I tried to back up and nearly went over the edge into the rocky river bellow. I made it out and parked my car in some ditch lot and started hiking. I didn't want to waste the gasoline and time spent getting there, so I started hiking up some unmarked trail, hoping to reach some beautiful landmark before heading back and driving home before sunset. Little did I realize that the trail was actually a logging trail, not a hiking trail! I ended up hiking about five miles out to the middle of the forest and coming to a dead end. I was more scared than disappointed. My feet hurt and the sun was getting lower. I imagined bears finding me and tearing me to shreds, so I broke into a jog but stopped when my feet were in excruciating pain. I took off my boots and found out that I had cracked callouses and blisters oozing puss and blood (really bad shoes!) I looked up and saw that the sun was setting. I kept hiking through the pain. I came to a cross roads and realized that I was lost. I knew that I would just get more lost if I kept going, so I decided to camp out right there. I got into my sleeping bag, saying "This is gonna be a long night," and it was. I was lying stiff as a rock and eyes darting around nervously towards every sound. It was so cold. I was shivering nonstop all night, even with three jackets on. I heard what I thought sounded like a family of bears or raccoons grunting about twenty feet away, and I was so terrified that I prayed to God to protect me and survive to the morning. I hated how the forest surrounding me was pitch black while the sky above was moonless and shrouded by clouds. It was really dark. I fell asleep on and off and woke up near dawn. I got up and had frost on my nose. The ground around me was icy and the puddles were frozen. I was so happy it was morning. I retraced clues and found my way back to the car after seeing a coyote run in that direction. (Strange thing, there have been other incidents when I was troubled on walks and I'd see a coyote). So here I am, alive to tell the tale.

mowermouth mowermouth 18-21 1 Response Dec 13, 2008

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The coyote must be your Animal Guide! :)