(Almost) Lost in the Woods!


(Credit: Obvious Plant)

My family and I got lost briefly in the woods today. Visions of Deliverance, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and Alive danced through our heads.

We feared hillbilly attacks, thought about how many bug bites recent New York State prison escapees Richard Matt and David Sweat endured during their 21 days on the lam in the Adirondacks, considered what natural berries and barks we could subsist on, and pondered which one of us we might have to eat to survive. (At 6’2″ and 240 pounds, I’m sure I would have come up the loser there.)

Thank God our new best friend Mark rescued us from nature…and from ourselves.

The exaggerated real-life Survivor tale began at about 1:00 PM Wednesday afternoon and ended at roughly 3:00 PM.

Our flirtation with Hell started as an innocent walk in the park. Two adults, three kids, and two well-fed Chocolate Labs. The sunlight pierced the canopy of the trees and sent an ominous glare off of the fully-charged cell phones we carried on our persons.

And then it happened…

We did the unthinkable. We ignored the GPS signal that was tracking our precise location vis-à-vis our nearby SUV where we entered the park. We continued going in THE OTHER DIRECTION! Can you imagine the horror?

Individuals in our party all had different ideas about the best course to return to the park.

“We need to go left to get back.”

“No, no, I think it’s to the right over there.”

“I recognize this stump from before.”

Soon, we were off the grid! Outside of the well-marked trails of the park! Traversing dangerous, heavily wooded private property. For about 30 minutes!

Just before we stumbled back into civilization, we heard the yelping of dogs and the banshee screams of small children. Obviously it could only be the plaintive cries of distress from poor souls being chained against their will by evil kidnappers and suffering cruel torture at the hands of sadistic backwoods miscreants living in dilapidated shotgun shacks!

Nope. Just a brother and sister playing with their doggy outside an idyllic middle class American home.

“It’s all about context,” said my wife, as we viewed the truth behind the noises, and stomped the mud off our shoes onto a well-paved suburban road.

A friendly neighbor named Mark smiled at us and offered to give us a ride back to our SUV.

“You must get this ALL the time,” I said. “People emerging from the woods at your house…”

“Oh yeah,” he said, “kids running up to me, sobbing, and giving me hugs…’WE THOUGHT WE’D NEVER SEE HUMAN BEINGS AGAIN.'”

Turns out Mark is a flight instructor, who recently launched a local online co-op business specializing in connecting companies with customers. He’s off to a good start, because he definitely connected us with our car.

If you have any harrowing tales of getting lost in the woods, I’d love to hear ’em.

Dave Coombs is a longtime morning radio host, who loves long walks in the woods, followed by a cold beer on the couch.

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