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Thursday, March 27th, 2008

“Isolated, alone, and frightened to death”

This is a story I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

It was a Tuesday afternoon and my good friend, Molly, and I were hiking in a forest preserve in Northern California.  It was a cloudy day and we had just arrived a day earlier from our home in New York.

This is the vacation we had talked about for the last year.  Little did we know, this might not only be our last vacation, but possibly our last days on earth.

We were on an isolated trail when we thought we heard strange noises, a kind of rustling sound, off to our left.  Molly and I looked at one another inquisitively, but we just shrugged.  We had no idea what the sounds meant.  Was it a person, or an animal?

We walked for another mile or so, occasionally hearing the same sounds.  It was following us for sure but careful to remain out of sight.

We were scared, but there was nothing we could do because we were at least a good hour from any kind of civilization.  And our cell phones were useless.  Even if we could make a phone call, who could find us.

Here we were on a trail far away from people; after all, that was the goal we had set out to accomplish – being on our own, isolated from the world.

And there were the sounds again.  In desperation and frightened half to death, Molly shouted out and said if you’re there, come out and reveal yourself.  The sounds instantly stopped.

We stared at each other and we were beside ourselves with fear.  We started moving faster down the trail and at first heard nothing, but, sure enough, the noises about thirty yards away indicated whoever or whatever it was, was tracking us.  And getting closer.

Then, as the trail took a sharp turn, we almost ran into two other hikers.  Two strapping, young men, and we could tell instantly, they were good people.  We almost cried with relieve and told them what was going on.

One of the men looked over our shoulders and pointed at something moving away from us.  It was a bear, and without a doubt, it had been on our trail.

Robert, one of the men said he had a premonition that someone was in trouble.  He said they were starting to head back to their car but the feeling had been overwhelming and Robert insisted they stay out on the trail for a little longer.

That premonition may have saved us from harm.

G. Bell
White Plains, NY

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