FINALLY getting around to ending this epic saga… 🙂 Check out Part 1 and Oregon: Part two! if you haven’t already! And here’s a quick refresher: We left off with my parents now missing for two days and we still had no contact with them. Our decision was to wait until a set time the next day and then head to a ranger station if they didn’t turn up.
I slept slightly better in the car that night, but still not great as the comfort level was definitely lacking. I got up and went back into the tent to do some reading while I waited for my sister and Kevin to get up. I finished Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut (which is an excellent book by an incredible author) AND a book of Fables (a graphic novel where fairy tale characters are transported to our world and it’s also amazing so you should definitely read them if you haven’t already).
When we were all awake we ate our breakfast and headed back up to the trail crossing to continue waiting for my parents. This time we brought bug spray and applied it often and generously. Every hiker who crossed our paths we asked to look out for our parents and give them a message from us.
We waited for hours, but still they did not show. We decided it was time and piled back into Charissa’s car to start the harrowing drive down the neglected dirt “road”. We had driven about three miles when we happened upon a bar of service with our cellphones. In that glorious moment my sister’s phone buzzed, receiving a single text message from my dad saying they were on their way and DO NOT MOVE. We found a wider section of road and pulled her car off to the side because we had enough of driving on that road. Then we hiked the three miles back to the trail to wait again. My feet hadn’t completely healed and the walk wasn’t doing me any favors.
When my parents finally got to us they wore a mixture of emotions on their faces: Exhaustion – from hiking way more then planned, relief – for finally finding us after almost three days, and annoyance – because as my dad filled us in later, you always wait at the original meeting spot. They told us they got slowed by the rain on the first day and turns out they were only a few miles behind. If we had waited at the first spot we would have met in just a few hours instead of a few days. Live and learn I guess!
Then we had to tell them we were parked miles down the road (surprise! more hiking!). My dad’s face fully dropped to disappointment. They took a quick rest to gather some strength and eat a snack and then we began our trek together. Some of the campers we had been by happened to be driving their pick-up trucks and offered to drive us down the “road” back to our cars. We accepted, of course! (Thank you, you beautiful Oregon people, whoever you may be!) Things were finally looking up for us…..
I got back to my rental with Kevin and I told him I felt okay to drive. I was so focused on the many rocks I was dodging I didn’t even notice the tree branch sticking into the road until crunch… I drove right into it, scraping it across the front bumper. We couldn’t stop because the road continued to be unforgiving and at that point we just needed to get back to pavement. We made arrangements to stay at a motel (needed a little break from camping :p) and then I finally got a chance to survey the damage. It was hard to tell the extent because of how dirty the car was between the dust from the road and massive amounts of bug corpses stuck to the front. The rental contract says things larger than a dollar bill, and even though we weren’t sure how bad, we could see it was clearly bigger than a dollar bill. It wasn’t even just a scratch…the tree actually broke through the plastic.
Our motel was right next to a Dairy Queen and after the adventure we had we helped ourselves to a wonderful feast of fast food and ice cream treats. It was a nice little comfort break after the stress and worry of the past few days. The only room available had two beds so my sister, Kevin and I had to fit on one, but after the frigid nights in a fleece bag it seemed like luxury. Finally, my family was reunited.
Epilogue: If you’re wondering… when I went to return my rental car we put it through the car wash first which made the crack seem less bad, but it was still BAD. As we were waiting for the woman to check out the car Kevin’s dad leaned over and whispered, “You know she’s really tall… maybe she won’t bend down to look…” And indeed, she did not.