Thirty miles up from where I’m sitting is Independence Pass. Rising over 12,000 ft., it is the highest paved pass in Colorado. Due to snow and really nasty road conditions, the pass is usually closed from mid-October to late May. It was already closed once this year, and just briefly reopened.

Yesterday, a mom and 3 children from H’s third-grade class went hiking on the pass. When they didn’t return we called Mountain Search and Rescue, but by that time it had started to snow. They called off the search at two in the morning after walking the entire trail and finding no traces of our lost kids. H and I spent the night sitting up, calling families in the class, and preparing everyone for the worst.

Search and Rescue resumed the search this morning, but the snow was still coming down. Down valley, it was alternating rain and sleet, and the idea of somehow surviving a night, above alpine, in the snow, didn’t seem possible.

About an hour ago, they found mom. She and the children had spent the night huddled beneath a tarp. She left at dawn, found a search team and led them back to the children. We got the call from the sheriff just in time for H to announce it at the all-school assembly.

A lot of scary things happen every day. Terrible things, with no logic or reason to them, and it can make a person feel adrift in an uncaring universe. But I’m willing to bet that for every horrible tragedy that passes, there is a wonder, too.

And often the good things are are just as arbitrary as their wicked cousins. Reason and logic will tell you that a child of sixty pounds --- dressed for a day hike --- cannot stay out all night, above alpine, in the snow, but I know three perfect ones that did.

As a culture, we don’t tally wonders like we do the disasters, but that doesn’t make them any less real to the people that need them. Today, we needed this one.

So here’s October's running tally, as witnessed by H. Stroh:



At 3:06 PM, Blogger Marcy said...

My heart was in my throat as I read that. So glad there was a happy ending!

At 4:28 PM, Blogger SnakeOil Sage said...

It's good to know the mother kept her head and heart together. Strength of will can make all the difference in such situations.

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous erik said...

That's a remarkable story. Thanks for sharing this!


At 3:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A truly remarkable story. Thank God everyone was okay.


At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GREAT news! Thank you!!


At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear it. Public Safety is number one:
technobi el-hop-hop-hope

At 1:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry to interrupt Harley, but I just wanted to let you know that I dropped you an e-mail to your Goodman Games address, and it bounced at me. Might be a problem with my ISP even, not sure.

I re-sent it to your Poison Clan Press addy, so if you don't get a mail from me in the next 24 hours, can you please drop me a line?


~ J.L. Collins ~


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