I just nearly killed my children and myself.
Me, from a heart attack, after pulling a sled & child through ice crusted, foot deep snow, uphill and downhill, completely lost I might add, for 45 minutes at break neck pace (being terrified will do that).
The kids from having to fend for themselves, after my sudden death, completely lost in the wilderness too far from any houses for anyone to hear them.
Oh and it's about 10 degrees out.
I tried not to yell "MOM!!!" too shrilly so as not to alarm the kids but I think the fact my pupils were fully dialated might have tipped them off.
Let me tell you it doesn't take long for the panic to set in when you are lost in below freezing temperatures. Especially when one of your crew is a not especially hearty two year old.
So much for the simple sledding expedition.
Did I mention that my mom lives on something like 40 wooded acres and that the trail system is..um.. totally snowed over... and about 100 feet in it became clear that everything looked exactly the same in every direction?!
Or that the large dog tracks looked suspiciously like wolf tracks?
Or that in an effort to return to the house as quickly as possible I decided, after a fair amount of time, to attempt to follow the trail the full loop back to the house(since trying to veer off in hopes of finding a shortcut could have been an fatal decision under the present circumstances... and I do NOT jest)? Imagine, if you can, how difficult that decision was knowing that commiting to that trek would be close to impossible for Kid to pull off...and yet I would not be strong enough to pull both kids back myself? But at that point what choice did I have? Both directions might be too far for her (or me I was beginning to fear) and no one could hear us and no one knew where we were.
That is until I saw a house, off in the distance, that was not my mother's house, which meant we were significantly off course.
People, I was terrified. Every potential scenario running through my mind. Leaving them in the frigid temps while I ran back?... no they'd wander off and die. Resting before reversing?... we might get too cold and disoriented. You can see where this starts going in a fear clouded mind.
With only one option left, and terror slowly taking over, I reversed our course and we followed the only reliable path we had... our own.
Once I finally found the trail back to the house, pine needles stabbing my back and neck after bushwhacking to a clearing pulling Baby, kids crying, poor Kid limping slowly behind exhausted and frustrated, I collapsed on the ground.
I was sweating and shaking from the physical output... and near tears. The kids were both past that stage and well into cold, tear streaked, and pissed.
When we made the final trek to the house we stumbled in a haggard, disgruntled, slushy bunch.
"How long until you came searching for us?" I asked.
"What? We're you guys lost?" My stepfather replied.
Yeah that's what I thought. See why I was so worried?!
Who knows how long we might have been out there.
And how long does it take before you resort to cannibalism (it was lunch time)?