My story into the National Forest continues. Hang in there, there is a point to this! When my daughter and I finally arrived in the small town, we were so relieved. I wanted to jump out of the car and kiss the sign, but our hopes were about to be dashed. The town was so small that there wasn't any motels that we could check into. Our only option was to continue looking for the camp.
Reading the instructions once more, we ended up driving pass our turn. Once again we found ourselves in another National Forest with no cell service. The darkness was so intense that we could only see a few feet ahead of us. I gripped the steering wheel as I fought off the panic that was trying to cripple me. Mice scurried back and forth across the road. Hope was quickly fading as I felt sick to my stomach. Visions of my daughter and I wandering lost for days only to starve to death tormented my thoughts. Worse yet, running into a serial killer and being tortured made my skin crawl. Will our bodies ever be found in either scenario? A flash of light in my rear view mirror caught my attention. Could it possibly be another car? Was it the serial killer? I slowed down. It wasn't just one car, it was three! Relief washed over me as I reasoned to myself that they must be other counselors heading to the camp. As the road continued on with no signs of the camp, the nasty feeling came back twisting my stomach. Something was wrong. We should have been there by now. I ran several options through my head.
Option one: I pull over and let the cars pass, then I follow them. But what if they weren't counselors heading to the camp, who would we be following and where would we end up?
Option two: Quickly pull over and jump out into the road to wave them down. Draw back to this plan- I could get hit by the car or maybe they were a gang of serial killers. Who else would be in a forest late at night?
Neither one sounded good, but I had to do something. I settled for option 2. Jumping out of my car, I ran into the road waving my hands crazily. The caravan slowly pulled over. Running up to one of the cars, I was relieved to see that it was a friendly looking woman. I asked her if she were going to the camp. My heart sank when I saw her blank stare. A man in another car approached me. I showed him the directions. Shaking his head, he replied, "Oh, that was way back there. We're headed across the mountains." I wanted to grab him and weep, "Don't leave me here in the dark!", but I thanked him instead and dejectedly walked back to my car. As we headed back the way we came, the darkness became hypnotizing. We blasted cold air to ward off the panic we were both feeling. I'll never forget the feeling of hopelessness as I watched the tail lights of those cars fade away. Darkness once again surrounded us. Would we live through this wretched night?
Can you relate? Are you lost in your own National Forest? Maybe you just lost your job or entered a new phase of life and your purpose is now unclear. Maybe addiction or trauma has left you feeling alone and abandoned. You can't see your past, your present is dim, and there's no future ahead of you. That's where I come in. You can't do this journey alone. I know, I tried. Hope comes from a futuristic mind set, so let's the face the forest together, and get those high beams shining brighter! Oh, and by the way, we did finally find the camp six hours later!