A typical day for me does not exist. I live spontaneously. There is a no pattern in what I do, except that I like to have fun. This trait of mine, however is both good and bad.
I told a story to my friend Nikki about rock climbing, a hobby we both love but don’t get to do very often, since we were reminiscing, I suggested we go out and climb at our local gym, unfortunately we got there just after closing, but we were not going to give up on rock climbing now that the idea was in our heads. It was 5 o’clock and and the sun was supposed to set in an hour, and it was raining. So what did we do? obviously, drove out to the forest to go bouldering.
Mistake number one: not giving up on the idea to go rock climbing.
My ignorance led us just over 3 miles through the forest on this incredibly well managed dirt road then we reached our incredibly unmanaged turn off for the bouldering spot. In February, in the forest, the ground is covered in snow, but me, being the confident Subaru driver I am, thought, NO BIGGIE I can handle this mud & snow! which for the record, I have driven through mud and snow plenty of times before so I thought that this would be nothing different, but I had also never been stuck before.
Mistake number two: driving on a sketchy dirt road at dusk
Instantly after making the turn onto this dirt road that lead us to the bouldering lot there were giant mud pits and puddles and over grown trees making the drive to the parking lot a real obstacle course. Did I risk it just to have some fun? yes. like an idiot. After about half a mile on this road I did end up deciding that the snow was too deep for me to drive through, so I tried to turn around in someone else’s tire tracks. The tracks stopped at a wall of snow, so I had to put it in reverse and make it a three point turn, while backing up I my tires spun out in the mud tracks, I tried to pull forward to undo what I just did but my tires just sunk deeper into the mud!
I was stuck. and like I said, Never been stuck before. I got out of the car, looked around, and started digging the tires out. Oh snd we had no cell service. In my trunk I have blankets, a sleeping bag, a backpack and an ice scraper. So not many helpful things to get us out but enough to keep us warm if we had to sleep out there. I used the ice scraper as a shovel but my hands almost worked better, except that my fingers were freezing. Nikki was looking for rocks to put under the tires to use as traction, I dug out so much snow and made new paths to drive out on, I was on my knees and elbows deep in mud. Determined to get out.
Nikki and I had put rocks under all the tires so I got in the car, and tried getting out. the first attempt I did not move. I thought we still didn’t have enough traction so we put sticks under all the tires with the rocks, got in, tried again & I was able to move backwards about an inch but that was it. My front passenger tire was realllly deep in mud, revving the engine mud was spitting out all over the car from under the tire.
It was getting dark incredibly fast, we’d been working for almost 30 minutes and nothing was working. So I decided to walk back to the main road back to some cabins that were near by and see if we could make a phone call or ask for help.
Right after getting on the main road, a car was driving by, I said I’d wave him down, which I did, but he kept driving, cool. Then he stopped, and yelled out the window from about 75 yards away asking if we were alright, I yelled back saying my car was stuck, and he came over to us.
This man’s name is Collin, Ex Marine, Ex Cop, Wilderness man to the max. He lives 20 miles back in the forest. Carrying a gun & wearing a shirt that said “What’s your O-face” He’s a COOOL dude to say the least. A real life GODSEND. Collin and his one year old pup Lucca saved us.
Collin drove to where my car was stuck, putting his car at risk, and took a look. He was really nice, he never judged us for being two young girls getting stuck, he was like Cool you went off roading out here in this weather, cool you were bouldering, cool you are not afraid, cool you guys are funny, and he kept explaining everything he was doing making us feel comfortable and teaching us what to do for next time. if there is a next time.
He had a shovel to dig the tires out and he dug me out more in 5 mins than I did in 30 haha, then he bent over and he warned us, “I’m about to bend over, and I am carrying so if you see it, I’m not gonna pull it out on you but it is there, just warning you” And I WAS LIKE WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT and then I saw his gun and I was like oh.
After digging my tires out, I let Collin try to back the car out, I had my fingers crossed and said a quick prayer. no luck. he got out of the car saying, “I’m gonna ask you to do something that you’re not gonna wanna do” So I said what and he explained that we needed to deflate my tires in order for them to ‘pancake’ so they’d be bigger and give us more traction. Nikki found the pen she coincidentally left in my car, and we let out a lot of air in all four tires. This meant I couldn’t go faster than 25mph on the freeway.
Now that we had more traction, Collin explained to me I had to go forwards and back, forwards and back, rolling on to rocks and then CRANK it back outta the mud! this maneuvering took a while but I got it finally, and I was OUT OF THE MUD.
Nikki and I thanked Collin endlessly, he invited us to his house in the summertime for a big bonfire and barbecue party he throws every year. He led us off of that sketch road back on to the main road, then he brought Lucca out of the car and let us pet her to say goodbye. Collin told us to call him when we made it back to flagstaff.
Back in the car, Nikki explained to me how lucky and thankful she is to have me as her friend, which warmed my heart. She said she was thinking of anyone else she would have to experience that with that it would have been horrible, she was thankful we did that together and she thanked me for staying calm the whole time, never panicking and never complaining or telling her what to do. I was so happy hearing her say that to me. And I thanked her for never yelling at me or blaming me for getting us stuck. It was crazy because we got out there at 5:30ish and were leaving by 7:30, but it felt like it was midnight. We were both exhausted from all the work, We went from really thinking we were going to have to sleep in the car and figure it out in the morning to being home by 8pm and eating a big meal back in Flagstaff.
This was quite the adventure. I can’t wait to go back in a few weeks when the snow melts more and actually boulder.
To wrap up this post I just wanna say I cannot be more grateful. Nikki and I really got lucky to have that happen, to have the PERFECT man stop for us and help us out, for God getting us out and keeping us safe. I am truly lucky. So here is a picture of what my car looks like the morning after, with the mud all over the passenger side(: yay mud.