Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Biker Reunion, or, Lost in the Woods!!!

I was talking with my sister Alice last night and she reminded me of something that happened to her several years ago at Hummel Park in Omaha.

Alice is a big nature nut and former camp counselor and Park Ranger. She has always made a habit of taking her four kids hiking and camping.

One day, she took several kids, including her oldest son Ken and his friend Colin, who I think were about 12, on a hike through the woods in Hummel Park. Hummel Park is a large swath of 200 acres of forest land on the bluffs just west of the Missouri River. It's beautiful, but somewhat remote, has some sheer, eroded dirt cliffy places, and also has somewhat of an unsavory history after nightfall. Juvenile delinquents hanging around causing trouble, ghost stories, even a couple of murders.
As the group walked down the trail, Ken and his friend wanted to take an short, alternative roundabout path which they knew would intersect with the main path a little later on. Alice knew the trail well and said that was fine, and they would meet at the intersection up ahead. Arriving at that intersection, Alice and the others waited for the two boys to join them.
And waited.
And waited.
Alice started to worry, told the rest of the group to stay put and went back down the path to find them. She went all the way around - and they were nowhere to be found.
Anyone who is a parent will know this feeling - your heart stops - you start to freak out - you think, surely not - your heart starts beating again only way too fast - you're saying, No, No, No -adrenaline - panic - NOT GOOD.
The whole group searched for the boys for a long time, to no avail.
At this point, dusk is falling. You don't want your 12 year old boy lost in Hummel Park at night. AT ALL! So Alice, panicking now, rounds up the remaining kids and heads for civilization to call the police. She and the rest of the kids burst out of the woods into a clearing, near a narrow park road.
The clearing is filled with Harley Davidson types having a raucous party. There are lots of motorcycles and leather jackets and cigarettes and beer and loud rock music. This is not the type of party my sister Alice really gets into. She's more of the chamomile tea and Mozart type. Also, did I mention Alice is totally wee? She's about five feet tall.
But my dad didn't call her the Mighty Mite for nothing! She ran up to the bikers and let them know what had happened. Immediately, she told me, they leaped up and fanned out to search for the kids. Some of them jumped on their bikes or into their cars and others ran into the woods. One of them loaned Alice his cell phone (and this was way before those were ubiquitous) and she phoned the police.
While she was talking to the cops and telling them in no uncertain terms to get moving and bring their dogs with them (I can totally hear her, by the way), one of the biker ladies drove up in her station wagon, yelling out the window, "I've got 'em!"
Apparently the kids had overshot the path intersection and eventually realized they were lost. They kept going until they found a clearing with a small pavilion in it, near a road, and they wisely decided to sit at the pavilion and wait to be found rather than wander around in the forest.
Sigh! what a relief, and what a great story. It's even funnier if you know my sister. Also, FYI, Ken is now in college, so this story makes me feel extremely old. He is a super guy though. I'm so glad he wasn't lost!


Anonymous Leilani said...

Interesting to know.

3:09 AM  

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