It was just pass 12 in the afternoon. I laid in my bed enjoying the comforts of my pillows and blankets, when suddenly my phone goes off. It is my friend, who I just saw recently a day or two before. He texted me saying, that he was in the mood for a hike,that it was nice weather and we should take advantage of it. I agreed with him, I didn’t have plans till later that night, so a nice afternoon hike would be a great way to get out of the dorm. Living in the North Country, it is rare to get warm weather in November and yes 35-40 degrees is considered warm at this time of the year up here.
I packed simple and light. A small wallet with my IDs, phone, shades and water bottle. I have never been hiking before, just walked through trails back at home, so I told him to pick a location that wasn’t difficult and something fast. He found a trail 40 minutes away and off we went. We were definitely far from the college as we drove deep into the area towards the trail, far enough that we did not have cell phone service.
As we got out of the car, we were ready for this adventure. We started the hike happy and relaxed, we talked about the semester and how much things were going to change, because I was graduating at the end of December. We jumped over rocks, climbed over branches, and took pictures of the beautiful, quiet scenery. Living on Long Island, silence is a gift. I have never been anywhere where I heard my own echo carry out so far, the silence was fascinating and scary.
As we traveled up the mountain we saw snow. During Halloween weekend, it snowed a little, nothing stuck to the ground, but I guess for the mountains it was a different story. We passed some kids and families and we thought the top of the mountain was soon close by. We kept going and going, hiking up the cold mountain, holding on to icy rocks and walking through wet leaves. We were getting concerned as we met the challenges of certain terrains and it started to get dark.
We agreed we would only go a little farther and turn back once we got uncomfortable. We made it to this ledge full of rocks, the rocks were stuck in the ground in random places, it was impossible to think that people made it up the ledge, but we saw the footprints and decided that if our destination isn’t up this ledge we would head back. Unfortunately, we were right, we made it up the ledge, but again faced with another ledge. I said, “I think we should head back, it is getting dark and we still need to walk back to the car.”
He agreed, and as we turned around to go back, it wasn’t as simple as being said. The snow became our worst enemy. The ledge we were on top of, was steep, icy, and wet. We started to become worried as we really paid attention to the darkness and how quickly we were being engulfed with it. It was like a movie screen going black. Trying to walk down these rocks was like walking a tight rope, but the bottom did not have a safety net, it was rocks and trees. I started crying, as I prayed for my life to make it out alive.
My friend and I sat down on the rocks and slide down the icy rocks and wet leaves. It took us around 30 minutes to get down just one hill of rocks. The time was 5:30pm, and the darkness had already set in. We turned on our flashlights on our iphones and we began walking as fast we could down the mountain.
In front of us was just pitch black. We tried to calm each other down as we both held hands so we wouldn’t lose each other. I have never felt so out of control of my life. The fear of the unknown was enough for me to pass out, I was running on pure adrenaline, the bottom of the mountain seemed so out of reach, but I just kept going and going.
What felt like hours and hours running down the mountain, we made it to the clearing and ran to the car. We sat in the car and drove right back to campus. Nothing was said, all was heard was our heavy breathes and all we felt was our own individual hearts.
I sat in the car looking out the window, trying to make of what happened. Tears ran down my face just overwhelmed with emotions. I made it back to my dorm, took a shower, and went straight to bed. Nothing was said, but my thanks to God, that I survived.