I think the whole state breathed a sigh of relief when the lost hiker was found today. My oldest son was hiking there only one week before the young man wandered off, so it was a shock when we heard someone was lost in that wilderness.
I know Dolly Sods a little bit. It's beautiful, wild, and rocky. Rattlesnakes, unexploded ordnance from WWII training, huckleberries, blueberries and bears. Not many people.
I remember the last time we camped there. It was August, and I wanted to pick the wild blueberries. We dropped our youngest son Tommy off with his brother Jon, and Larry and I headed up to Dolly Sods. We set up camp and our oldest son George (who lives only 20 minutes away) stopped by with grandson Clayton.
We had a great time. Clayton and I looked for bears and we roasted hot dogs over the fire. It was a primitive campsite so it got dark when the sun went down. George and Clayton left and Larry and I got ready for bed.
That is when the trouble started. I looked for my suitcase but it wasn't in the van. It turned out that Larry had sent it off with Tommy (who would be wondering what to do with my bras!). So there I was, miles from anywhere and no clean clothes. Larry took one look at my face and dodged into his sleeping bag. It was a very quiet camp that night.
The next day, in my dirty clothes (which I slept in because even in summer it gets cold up on Dolly Sods) I picked berries. I was in a better mood--we'd be going home and I could clean up then--until my foot slipped and I ripped the entire seat out of my pants. It figured. I just kept picking berries. There was no one except a few bears to see anyway!
My shirt didn't cover the rip, so on the way home, bathroom stops were by the side of streams or deep woods. It was a quiet trip home too! But the berries--ah, they were worth all the trouble. We made pancakes, muffins and syrup with them all winter, and each time I got a bag out of the freezer, I remembered that trip and smiled.
I hope the young man who was lost will have some good memories of his trip. The best one will probably be the faces of the people who found him. Maybe one day, like me, he'll laugh about it and have a good story to tell.