in which certain people get lost in the dark and get miraculously rescued by others.
APRIL 2, 2004:
It was one day before we left for our trip. I remember sitting in a Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn and we had just finished eating our meal. I opened up the fortune cookie and read my fortune out loud. My brother Mike was listening as I read to him: "You will embark on an adventure of untold memories". I didn't really think anything of it at the time but I jokingly thought: suppose something terrible happens on this trip? I laughed at this thought.
APRIL 6, 2004:
Ok fast forward four days later: After driving what seemed like endless hours, we found a beautiful place in Utah where we were going to go for our day hike. We also decided that were going to camp out here for the night. We hadn't done any "real" hikes yet on the trip so we were all eager to go on this six mile roundtrip hike. The scenery along the way was pretty as we were hiking through a canyon area that was filled with spectacular colors. Mike, bad foot and all, decided to be the "leader" and move on ahead of everybody else. We all admired his stamina and "warrior" attitude. "Yeah Go Mike!" Well that didn't last too long as Venya and Max caught up to him and blew past him eventually. Ok so after hiking for some time, we all get to the end of the trail and were met with a beautiful cascading waterfall pouring over a rocky hill crest. WHAT A SIGHT!!! After a long hike, it was a nice treat to see the waterfall. Well it was starting to get late so we didn't really get to spend that much time by the waterfall. We knew that it would be getting dark soon (well Diana knew) and we needed to head back. Mike was in no hurry to go back as he was enjoying the scenery and taking his sweet time to put on his shoes. I can't say I blame him as his foot by now was probably throbbing with pain. (of course he didn't show it) Diana told me that she and the rest of the group would go on ahead of me and Mike. I remember her exact words: "Mike is fast, he'll catch up to us." (sorry Diana, but I had to quote you there) My first thought as she said this was: WE HAVE NO FLASHLIGHT, WHAT IF...............................
About fifteen minutes past and everybody except me and Mike had already headed back on the trail. We were not really worried because the trail was an easy one to follow and we knew we would have no problem finding our way back. However, there was one "little" hurdle that I forgot to anticipate. "Speedy Mike" had all of a sudden become "Slow Polk Mike". His bad foot had caught up to him and even his mighty adrenaline wasn't going to be enough to get him to move fast this time. This was when I began to worry just a little. However, it was still daylight and I thought that we could still make it back in time. Well my instinct was wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The trail was longer than we had both expected and it was beginning to get dark. We could still see the trail but we knew that it would get much darker before we got to the end of it.
MAX TO THE RESCUE: We started to slow down our pace because of the darkness when all of a sudden we saw a red beaming light flashing in our direction. We knew help was on the way. We then heard someone call out to us and we responded back by saying: "WE'RE OVER HERE." Yes Max had come to save us, well equipped with his handy headlamp. Ok we were out of danger, no problem lets just get back to civilization. Right? Well not so fast. Now it was pitch black outside and Mike and I were thanking Max a hundred times for finding us. In that darkness we would never have found our way back.
Ok we got to the trail marked # 3 which meant that we were almost there. This is where the trail got a little confusing (in the darkness very confusing). We seemed to be on the trail shortly after the # 3 mark but then after walking a bit more we seemed we were off of it again. Max decided that we backtrack to # 3 and do it all over again. We did but ran into the same problem again. Ok now I was beginning to think about the Chinese restaurant again. In fact many thoughts were racing through my mind: fortune cookie, untold memories, hungry coyotes, dehydration. It didn't really help when Max told me that if we encountered a coyote at this time at night we would be dinner. Anyway we were thinking about what we should do in case we couldn't make it back. We knew that we were close to the trail and we figured that our worst case scenario would be sleeping there overnight. It wasn't a cold night and we knew that this was going to be a real possibility. However, I don't think anybody was looking forward to that. Now all of a sudden a tent seemed like a luxury hotel room to me. Boy how I just wanted to get back to camp and see that tent waiting there for us.
THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR VENYA IS HERE: Ok I was resigned to the fact that I would have to really "rough" it for this one night. This was when we saw another red light flashing. This one was even stronger that Max's light. We all knew that it was Venya. Max immediately yelled out his name and then there was some small conversation between both of them (cant tell you the details, it was in Russian). Venya kept getting closer to us and Max pointed out to him where we were. As it turned out we were just a few feet away from the trail but in that darkness it seemed like hundreds of feet. Well Venya (a true GI JOE) had finally found us. We could all breathe a little easier now. Ten minutes later we were back at the camp looking brave like we knew the whole time we would get back. (YEAH RIGHT!!!!!!!!) Well after that wonderful experience I made one vow to myself: NEVER OPEN UP A FOTRUNE COOKIE AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!