Monday, November 15, 2010

Saved By A Stranger

Last Wednesday, Glenna and I took off on a short day trip.  We left Oxnard early in the am and arrived at Kings Canyon National Park at noon.  I got my passport cancellation and purchased my magnet.  Then we headed to Grant Grove to see the giant sequoias. 

As we were looking at the trees, it started to snow.  We were like giddy children.  Giant trees.  Snow.  What more could you ask for?!?  And we headed off to explore the remainder of the park.

After a couple of hours of exploration, we turned around to go back over the mountain and head home.  At around 5,000 ft, we started to notice snow on the ground and clinging to the trees.  The higher we went, the heavier the snow got.  At around 6,000 ft, snow was covering the road.  So we slowed down to keep from sliding off the edge to certain death.  But kept plodding along.

And then my traction control started to kick in, which meant that my tires were starting to spin.  And we still had several hundred feet yet to climb.  At about 6,200 ft and after several scary incidents involving sliding toward certain death, the car stopped.  She would climb no more. 

So we turned on the flashers, turned to look at each other, and tried to formulate a plan.  And we had none.  Snow was still falling.  The temperatures were dropping. And darkness was approaching.

The road we had just travelled was full of nothing but things that were closed for the season.  So there was no returning to the hotel a few miles back.  No warm restaurant.  No gas station.  No cell service to call Vol Fan to come to our rescue.  No payphone to call AAA.

My thoughts were going down all kinds of different paths:
  • Would we freeze overnight?  We only had light fleece jackets.  No hats.  No gloves.  No blankets.
  • How long would my car idle on half a tank of gas?  Should we ration it?  Only cranking when needed. 
  • How long would we be stuck?  We had 2 bottles of water, a bag of Doritos, and a pack of Chewy Sweet-tarts.
  • Etc, etc, etc
Just then a red Bronco came down the hill, saw our flashers, and stopped to see if we needed help.  Jim, the driver of the Bronco, asked if we had a set of chains for our tires.  We did not.  (Yes, they are now on my Christmas wish list!)  So he had two suggestions:  wait for the plow to come along and try to follow behind it or turn around and follow him to Hume Lake Camp for the night.

Yes, my brain went down the path of several Criminal Minds episodes.  Two lone women following a strange man ever deeper into the mountains.....You get the picture!

Even though we didn't know what Hume Lake was, we decided that it had to better than taking a chance with the plow, the continuing snowfall, the dropping temperatures....And we weren't going to get out of the car if the place looked scary!

Turns out that Jim was a Godsend.  Hume Lake Camp was so much more than we could ever have hoped for.  It is a place for church retreats, youth camps, etc.  It was closed for the season and the only remaining people were staff, working on repairs and such.

Jim had called ahead to tell them our situation and to be expecting us.  We arrived just in time for the staff dinner and were invited in.  After dinner, we were guided to a lodge room.  Yes!!  A bed.  Heat.  Saved by an angel named Jim!

The next day by 11:00 things had started to melt and people coming down the mountain said that it was still slick in spots but do-able.  So we loaded up and took off.  Creeping along at 10 mph, we were able to navigate the slick areas and make it over the mountain. 

I have never been more relieved to be back on dry pavement.  And I am very thankful for kindness of strangers!


Caution Flag said...

Don't you love it when people are willing to be angels? BUT I am so very glad you're safe :)

Mental P Mama said...

Wow! When I read that on Facebook I was all envious of your adventure. Now I am even more met an angel! So glad it worked out okay. So glad.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This makes me so darn happy.
I was scared for you reading this...and I love a happy ending.
What a wonderful guy Jim is. I hope he is blessed two-fold for this kind deed.

Linda said...

Not all strangers are of 'Criminal Mind' mentality! I am so thankful we have many more good people than bad! I'm glad you are safe, and home!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh My Gosh.... God was with you both... Did you have cell service to let VolFan know what was going on??? I'm sure he was very worried...

You totally owe Jim your life... And that camp sounded incredible... God Bless those people...

Glad you made it out safely.... NOW---get those chains.

big hair envy said...

Thank the good Lord for JIM! I can't imagine how frightening that whole ordeal must have been:/ Glad you're home safe and sound. In addition to chains, you may want to add an emergency bag to your vehicle!!!

Lori said...

I was a little worried as I read it and then it dawned on me that you must be fine since you wrote a post. :) Yes, I'm a little slow. :) How cool that you met an angel...what an adventure the two of you had...I hope you took pictures and share them with us...hint, hint. :) I love reading stories of people being in sticky situations and something like this happens. Very cool! So thankful you lived to tell the story. :)

TheVinylVillager said...

What an adventure!! Stories like this fill my heart though...good to know you can still count on people!

Desert Survivor said...

Wow, that's a great adventure. Glad you ended up with such a good, memorable experience!