The One Where We Get Lost In The Woods And Stuck On A Steep Backroads Dirt Mound In The Middle Of A Storm

PORTRAITThere’s an upper level to ruggedness. We all have one.

Well. I hit mine today when we veered off the boulder-infested roads, dipped into a steep hill, sped manically through unpaved meadow, plowed on towards another steep hill, and…. got… stuck.

There we were. Faced 90 degrees towards the skies. Staring at a physically insurmountable mound of dirt, unable to move forwards or back. His rear bumper was locked into the rocks. The hill was too steep to climb. When he tried the accelerator, it smoked.

Oh. And we didn’t know where we were. Because the GPS was off. We were in the woods, I guess. Somewhere.

It began to thunder.

Mentally, I calculated the hours and resources we had left. Four hours of daylight. Some beef jerky and trail mix. Enough water. Fortunately, right as we hit no-man’s trail, I had phone service.

So we called the police. The woman on the line suggested a tow company, but after zooming in on Google Maps, noted that a tow company probably couldn’t get to where we were. Then she mentioned a 4×4 off-road help group in Colorado, comprised of volunteers who enjoy this type of work.

A man on the line picked up. We provided our coordinates and le beau’s truck enhancements. A winch, le beau said offhand. I’d watched him play SnowRunner on PS5 after Christmas. The player would drive through rough terrain, get stuck, and whip out the winch. A winch, for those who don’t watch their boyfriends tow stuck vehicles, both real and virtual, is a thin cable connected to the bumper of the car. It’s about as thick as a thumb, and looks just as sturdy. I was skeptical. Maybe there was another way out.

We surveyed the area after the man hung up. I slipped out in my thin grey dress and shower sandals, having naively assumed we’d be detouring casually to Denver. This was not a casual detour. It began to rain. Oddly, though, despite everything looking as poorly as it did, I felt calm, certain that everything would be okay. Unable to walk up the dirt mound, I ventured into the nearby meadow. If only we could go through the meadow, I though. But the truck couldn’t move in any direction.

The 4×4 volunteer called us back. Try the winch, he suggested. And if you have this other device, use it as well. If it doesn’t work, give me a call back. The volunteers might get butthurt if they mobilize and you end up not needing their help.

So le beau climbed out of the driver’s seat, the truck guzzling gas at this point, and changed into some boots. He climbed up the steep mound, slipping a few times. I pulled the cable out as he dragged it to the nearest tree above the incline. He wrapped the yellow velcro attachment around a dangerously thin tree trunk, tightened the cable, and climbed into the truck.


It. Worked. Somehow, the thin grey cable towed his 5,000 pound truck up a vertical incline and over. I was, at some point, yelling – his right tire was creeping onto another hill, into another ditch, and he needed to steer to the right, towards, the tire dip, and he did, and in the cold and pouring rain, lost in the middle of some bumfuck rock-filled woods, he did it. We made our way towards the main road

But the journey wasn’t over yet. And I refused to celebrate until we hit paved road. How far in were we? Halfway, he responded.

The route home was filled with more rocks and unpaved road. But no more steep inclines. Just. So many rocks. And so few accurate signs. We maneuvered, took wrong paths, turned back, checked the map, scoped it out, went back again. There were boulders everywhere – two to three feet in diameter, unavoidable, guaranteed scrapes. And yet the only other alternative would be an even rockier road. With even bigger rocks.

Hours later, we managed to finagle our way to regular dirt roads. A small home sat in the distance. We breathed a sigh of relief. Humans in proximity. We still weren’t out of the woods, though, literally and figuratively. During the last triple fork in the road, we reversed, nearly tipping sideways. As we were reversing, we saw two trucks bumping out the path we just left. Le beau jumped out to ask the red truck how we could get to the nearest highway.

Follow me, he said. I’m headed there right now, and I live here. His shaggy-haired pup peered out the windows. As we drove closer and closer to the paved roads, I thought, I wish we could somehow thank him. Right as I did, his dog jumped out of the car and onto the road. The man stopped to get his dog, and in doing so, popped over. We thanked him, asked him briefly for directions, and in twenty minutes, honked twice to bade farewell.



(Later, I reviewed the footage.)


3 thoughts on “The One Where We Get Lost In The Woods And Stuck On A Steep Backroads Dirt Mound In The Middle Of A Storm

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