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Shannon Rouchelle

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Member Since: Jun, 2008

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Stranded in the Desert
By Shannon Rouchelle
Sunday, June 22, 2008

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When two hikers get lost in the desert, they learn the meaning of endurance and faith.

Stranded in the Desert

 

Brenda and Jennifer got up at dawn on a Tuesday morning and headed down the Hermit Creek Trail. They were looking forward to hiking and being by the water.

The trail they were on was very rugged. They were about 2 miles from the camp, which could be seen from above the trail. To their dismay, they soon discovered that several feet of the trail was washed out and covered by rock slides. They couldn't cross. Brenda and Jennifer tried going around, but despite their effort to keep it in view, they lost the trail. It was so hot and there was no shade. It was very frustrating.

Jennifer broke down about 3 or 4 times. She was not emotionally or mentally prepared for this. Brenda stayed strong, even though she was very scared. They set up a shelter from the heat, just off a small trail, using the rain fly from the tent. It definitely helped.

In the morning Brenda went looking for a trail, while Jennifer started making a list of rations for each day. The food was rationed until Saturday, the day they were both scheduled back at work. With their water supply, they were allowed 8 ounces of water a day, which was not much considering the searing heat.

From their little shelter they waited, hoping someone would eventually spot them and get help. Unfortunately, it was not a maintained trail and looked like it was seldom used. Neither of them knew where they were. They waited and waited. Brenda and Jennifer prayed for strength, courage, faith, and for someone to come along and get help. They put their faith in God and had no choice but to be patient. Talk about a test of strength!

Around 3:30 p.m. they heard a voice. It was a foreign tourist who spoke very little English. They called for help from the gorge. He was way up on the cliff. He recognized their cry for help and came down to get them. When this guy from Spain came down, they were so grateful. Their prayers had been answered! They packed up their things and started following him up the side of the mountain. The heat was unbearable, and they had hardly eaten or drank anything.

The tourist took Brenda's pack and carried it up for her. He showed them the trail he came down on. They gave him some of their water, since he came down with nothing. They thanked him and the man left so he could meet up with his friend. Brenda and Jennifer were now on top of a plateau and a lot more visible from their new location.

They rested and then attempted to hike on this path the tourist had shown them. They started out-and once again the trail ended on a cliff. There was no way out. They were terribly discouraged. Brenda and Jennifer set up camp on the plateau. They prayed someone would rescue them by the morning.

Things seemed to look bleaker and bleaker. They licked Kool-Aid crystals to keep their saliva going, and tried brushing their teeth, but couldn't spit. By this time they had about 4 ounces of water left. If they didn't get help by tomorrow, they would end up drinking their own urine to survive. Just then the full moon came out and they knew God was watching over them and that they would be okay-somehow.

The following morning two hikers from Flagstaff came up the side trail. Their prayers were answered! The hikers gave them a lot of their water and were going to contact the park ranger. They finally had some hope! The hikers left on a trail they hadn't recognized before. Brenda and Jennifer decided to try the path themselves. They did well for 20 minutes, and then once again couldn't find the trail. They back tracked, and sought some shade at the side of a canyon wall. They lay on the rocks, trying to stay cool. They prayed for clouds, and they got them. They wanted rain and it sprinkled. God was looking out for them.

Brenda and Jennifer were sprawled out on the trail, when they looked up and noticed a big raven circling overhead. The raven circled for 5 minutes before settling in a tree, and keeping a watchful eye on them for 2 hours. They felt like death was near.

About 1:00 p.m. they heard a voice calling their names. It was a ranger! By the time he got there, all they had left was a half a cup of water between the two of them. The ranger took their vital signs, contacted the hospital, and they gave their approval for them to hike out. The ranger got them hydrated, and walked them out of the canyon- about 3 to 4 miles.

They felt so good hiking out. They had energy and strength-despite being so weak about an hour before. When faced with a life or death situation, their courage and strength surfaced and they fought the whole way. They believed their faith in God became stronger.

Looking back, Brenda and Jennifer felt God was testing their strength under adverse conditions. They view life differently now and appreciate the people around them, the food they are given and especially the water which sustains life. Praise the Lord for all you've done!

 Shannonrouchelle.com

 

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