Dead end. What a fitting thing to see at this moment, when I’m about to meet one.
I looked around. To my right, a ravine. Man, it was so far down. To my left, a glimmer of hope. There was a small indent where the mountain gave way a little. It was overgrown with weeds, but it had definite shape, and if I went an inch at a time, I might just be able to turn around without falling off the side of the mountain. But first, I needed to cry some more. I put the car in park and cried like a big baby. Prayed some more, laughed a little, realized that if I made it out alive, I would at least have some blogfodder — every interesting scenario I’ve found myself in over the last five years has brought with it the same comfort of being potential material.
I decided to just be done with it and started to turn the car around. Back, forward left, back right, forward left, back right, forward left… After about a hundred switches between drive and reverse, I was turned around and still intact. I gave myself a high-five and told myself how awesome I am. I gave God His own credit, too. Then I got scared again, because I now had to backtrack down the same mountain that almost killed me on the way up. I was terrified because going over the giant bumps was awful on the way up, and going downhill I assumed they would be worse. They certainly weren’t any better. I still had daylight, and if it didn’t take me any longer to get back to that blasted Packer John Road than it took me to get to the dead end, I would be out of the woodsy mountains before dusk.
Back through the ditches and over the bumps I went. I cried, because it was scarier on the way down. At one point I even reminded myself (as it was September 12) that seven years ago yesterday people had to choose between death by fire or death by jumping out of windows, so I should just suck it up and drive. I was in the shade, watching the day leave, and I wasn’t ready for it to be gone. Again I reminded myself that if it was dark before I was down the mountain, I would pull over as close to the mountain as I could, turn off the car, eat the lasagna, curl up under my green blanket, rest my head on my pillow, and wait to be devoured by an angry bear. I would drive out in the morning. I had no hope of being rescued, as all Frank knew was that I had bad directions, had missed the turn at Banks, and was on a podunk road when I lost cell service.
I was only driving down the mountain for twenty minutes or so, but it felt like twenty hours. I watched the sunlight move away from me as I cringed over each bump, praying to make it to the next one.
I made it back to Packer John Road and picked up my cell phone. Had I been smart (and I have demonstrated that this was a day of nothing but cutie-head moments, as Frank likes to call my blonde moments), I would have turned it off as soon as I lost service to preserve the battery. As soon as I had service, I called Frank. I told him I’d been lost in the mountains and was going to have another twenty minute drive before I would even get to the turn that I had missed on my way up. I got back on the highway and headed south. He told me that the church ladies had called and said they would stand near the intersection where everyone was getting lost. I said to Frank, “I’m thinking about just coming back home. I don’t know if I can go socialize now. I may just come home.” I lost cell service again.
To be concluded.