Looking at the wreck that was once her pride and joy she started her hike away from the car. Again looking at the skies she could see that at least for the moment it seemed a little brighter even though the cloud cover was still formless and gray. At least it wasn’t snowing and the winds seemed to be soft. Maybe it was a good sign that something might be breaking her way. Then unbidden to her mind another Bible verse flashed: “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as the freshly fallen snow.” Is 1:18. Where had that come from? Maybe being in all this freshly fallen snow somehow had triggered it. She really had no idea that she had somehow memorized all this scripture. After all it was something that wasn’t important to her, or was it? Well enough for now, she had better be concentrating on what she was about to do. As she started the hike she found that as she cleared the car, the snow was just above her knees and was not easy to walk through.
In a short time, and in a short walk, she found that maybe this wouldn’t be as simple as she thought. With the snow cover she couldn’t really see what the ground was like underneath, and she was finding that the surface was uneven. Gritting her teeth since having made the decision, she just started pushing through. After all how hard could it be to get around these trees, follow the edge of the road, and then find a way back up to the road where it would be much easier to hike? As she worked her way around the copse of trees that had been her bathroom she found that the trees had gotten heavier and closer together forcing her deeper into the woods and further from the road. Looking back she could see her tracks in the snow where she had broken a trail. She found that now with the exertion she was breathing hard and starting to warm up considerably. “At least I won’t be cold.” She told herself. Also seeing that she had left a plain and visible trail gave her confidence in that if her car were found then they would be able to follow her. Listening, it seemed that the forest was silent as if waiting for something. The only sound she was hearing was her breathing - it was eerie and even somewhat spooky to have things this quiet. She actually started humming to herself to help relax her nerves. But after a short period of time she found that just the work of breaking a trail in the snow took all of her concentration and energy. She had fallen a couple of times already from tripping over something hidden under the snow. So now she was trying to be even more careful. But what could she do? There wasn’t even a hint of what was under there. And for the first time Cathy felt the frightening possibility that this may take much longer than she expected. “Come on Cath', you can do this. Just put one foot in front of the other and go. You won't get there standing here and worrying about it."
After what she guessed was about an hour she found an area where a tree had fallen in the past and the area seemed somewhat protected. She needed a break, and had found that now she was sweating. So far she had been unable to work her way back to the road but was still confident that it had to be just a little ways off to her left. Again looking back she could she the trail she had broken disappearing into the distance. She looked down and saw that her pants were wet from the melting snow that had stuck to her, but at least for the moment her legs did not seem to be cold. So far her feet appeared to be dry. What would happen if her shoes soaked through? It would be uncomfortable and make hiking harder, but would it also mean that her feet could start freezing? That scared her, as it was something she hadn’t even thought about or considered. She was now realizing that her decision to leave might not have been a good idea after all. But after all, getting this far, she was trying to get back to the road which was still her goal. Besides she felt that now she had come too far to backtrack and admit defeat. It was better just to go forward and find help than to return and hope that someone would find her.
Once she rested she headed out once more attempting to go left towards the road. But between the heavy growth of trees, and the bushes that were heavy in the area and covered in wicked thorns, she was forced to continue in a direction she was guessing that paralleled the road. Ahead in the distance there appeared to be an increase in the amount of trees and found as she approached the area that she was being forced right and in her mind away from the road. Now what? It seemed that everything, even the trees were conspiring against her from making her goal. There had to be a way to get around this. There just had to be. She was guessing that by now it had to be mid-morning, and if that was true she really hadn’t got as far as she felt she should have. Plus by now she had expected to be back on the road and having an easier time of it. But she wasn’t, and it had been much harder work just to get where she presently was, wherever was, was? She found that she was tiring quicker, and that physically she was not in very good shape. That didn’t make sense to her as she went to the gym and worked out all the time. She prided herself in being in shape and looking as good as she could. With that thought she laughed. I probably look like hell right now. And look at this stylish outfit I am wearing - seating material from 6 years ago. She then laughed again at her little joke. Well at least it seemed to have lifted her spirits a little. Guess I better get going; sitting here will not get me out of here.
Before starting again she looked ahead at that line of trees that kept pushing her to the right, shaking her head she thought. I wonder if I force my way through this mess if I can find another pathway that goes to the left and the direction I really want to go. Hmmm, maybe I’ll just go a little further this way and see if there are any changes. If not … then try. What I really need to do is conserve my energy. I'm sure I still have a long hike ahead of me. Steeling up the nerve and strength she then headed out from her resting-place. She was getting a little cool again anyway, and she felt that it was much better being warm. She found that it was a still and silent white world, again as if it was waiting for something to happen.
The area she was presently in consisted of heavy growths of pine, cedar, and a number of deciduous trees. Without their leaves she could not recognize them at all, not that she was such an expert. Again leave landscaping to the ones who cared. As long as it looked nice and seemed to flow and was pleasing to the eye, what else was necessary? Although the area she was presently in appeared to be untouched by man. There were many downed trees and some were quite rotten showing that they had been on the ground for a long time. She had noticed that presently she had been heading in a slight uphill direction. There were some hills that she could see off to her right but because of the height of the trees to her left she couldn’t see what the land was doing at all. Now for the first time she understood the phrase, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” The trees blocked her view of anything but were immediately around her. The snow also continued to be a problem as it hid everything that lay beneath it. She had tripped, stumbled and fallen too many times to count. She had no idea if where she was hiking was actually a trail or path or she was just finding an opening and just going where it led. How did those mountain men do it back it their time? This was so hard. She found that her flagging strength was leaving her rapidly, and there was just no relief or signs that anything would be changing anytime soon.
Thankfully up to this point any additional snowfall had held off. But could she count on that continuing? Turning around again, she could see where she had been by the broken path in the new snow. She was surprised when she looked closely to see that she had not kept to a straight line at all. And she could see where she had fallen at least 3 or 4 times. What direction was she going in anyway? Again she had no answer to give herself. As far as she knew the road had to be just a short distance to her left. But these darn trees just refused to let her get anywhere close or let her break through. Heck it wasn’t only the trees, it was those thorny bushes which she assumed was probably berry bushes of some kind. They were everywhere and in some places she could see that they covered just about every inch of the ground between the trees for just about as far as she could see. She seemed to remember somewhere in the depths of her mind that on a family outing that dad had mentioned something about the moss on trees. But exactly what it was she couldn’t remember. It must not have been much more than a comment anyway. She saw that these trees were just covered in it. That probably meant that this area got a lot of rain, snow and such. Well for one thing for sure, she could collaborate the snow part. She had only been in the area for a few days and it was close to the end of winter and there had fallen too much of the white stuff as far as she was concerned. She found that her lungs burned, both from the cold and the effort she had to put forth just to work her way through the snow. It was tough, so very tough. Yet she knew that if she gave up, she would die. What a horrible thought, she could actually become no more and no one the wiser to where she was, no one. These thoughts brought up the emotions once again, and anger at herself for doing something so stupid. Still the anger gave her additional resolve that she wasn’t going to die out here. She again started pushing through the snow, and promptly fell in a hidden hole that came close to twisting her ankle. Catching her breath for a moment she got her anger and fear under control and said, “Now that was stupid Cath'. You let your anger get control of yourself there and almost finished it.” Shaking her head, all she could do was pick herself up and start heading out once again, but being as careful as she could. But how did one avoid unseen hazards?
The winds began to pick up again and now she found that she was hiking into those winds. The winds were chilling her face and ears, and she had to reach up now and then to try and warm them with her hands. The hiking she was doing was very difficult, she found that she was breathing hard almost all the time, and her times between hiking and stopping and catching her breath were becoming less and less. She saw ahead of her that it appeared that the line of trees to her left was going to be forcing her further right, but there was nothing she could do about it. Then in the distance, as she reached that shift pushing her further right, she saw an animal darting away from her. It appeared to be panicked as if it was running from something. And shortly after that something did appear. Catching her breath and sliding behind one of the many trees she watched as a pack of wild dogs, wolves, or coyotes dashed after the animal. She could see that they were running, what appeared to be a deer, or something like a deer, down. Not wanting to watch but at the same time unable to keep her eyes off the scene she watched them until both were out of sight. Wow, and I thought the only danger I had to face out here was the cold and snow
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