Desperate Times Pt. 01

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This story takes place way back in February of 1996. It’s told from my perspective as it was happening, in a remote area of the Canadian Rockies.


Oh my god, she’s right. That IS a building. There’s no way anyone lives there because it’s currently buried in snow drifts, but at the very least it’ll be shelter.

I shake my arms and ski poles excitedly in the air to confirm the good news, and then I emphatically point towards the structure to show that we have to head there. We have no choice.

It’s so blustery out that seeing is hard enough, so trying to communicate by talking is completely out of the question. But my wife and daughter get the message, and we all begin the hike across this deserted snow covered ridge in our skis, trying desperately to finally find cover, and hopefully a way to communicate our predicament, too.

I’ve skied my whole life, and while I’ve always known there are risks involved with this sort of extreme backcountry skiing, I assumed that if I ended up dying doing what I loved, it would’ve been because of an avalanche. But simply getting lost like this? Never in a million years would I have thought this was possible. God, I feel so fucking stupid and like such a failure. And worst of all, not only have I put myself at risk, but now Beth and Courtney are in danger too. All because of me. Fuck!

But what’s done is done, and now all I should be focusing on is getting us rescued. To be honest, for the last hour or two as it started to seem more and more hopeless that we’d find anyone, all the while knowing sunset was fast approaching, I started to contemplate the worst. Our chances of surviving an overnight out here would be pretty poor even without this blizzard, but with it? Forget it. But now that we found this house, I’m a lot more optimistic. We can do this.

The three of us take it one step at a time and eventually make our way to the side of the building. It’s not an easy hike, but our motivation to get there is through the roof. Once we arrive, we see a little porch and a door. We pop off our skis, climb up to the door in our ski boots, turn the clearly rusted doorknob, and to our amazement push it open and hurry inside. Holy shit, we found shelter!

As soon as I close the door behind us, the celebration is on. The three of us are hugging, jumping, and ripping off our goggles and helmets to finally be able to see and talk to one another.

I grab my wife’s chilled face and give Beth a wonderfully passionate kiss right on the lips. Next, I turn to my 19-year-old daughter Courtney and say, “We’re ok. We’re going to be ok, darling.” I mean it too. I actually think we are going to get out of this alive, now.

But then we all start looking around inside. It’s really dark, partly because the sun is already behind the peaks, and partly because all but one of the windows in this shack are completely buried in snow. And while it’s certainly way better to be inside this place than out in the driving snowstorm, it’s still probably only 25 degrees in here, so hypothermia is going to be a real concern.

But there’s a fireplace! Jackpot. This shack honestly looks like it could be 70 or 80 years old, and judging by the dust and the few objects that appear to be left in here, it clearly hasn’t been inhabited for decades. Does anyone still even own this place?

So many questions, but none of them really matter. All that matters is this fireplace looks useable, and it appears the chimney is clear too as there’s actually a little bit of snow sitting where the wood would go.

“Is there firewood? We need firewood.” I stress, as all three of us start searching this tiny winter cottage. It’s probably only 200 square feet, max, and it’s really just two rooms. There’s no kitchen or bathroom even. There are hardly any items around either. I see 3 or 4 empty beer cans and perhaps one full one? But the can is super old, as it even has a pull tab and the label is too faded to read. There’s a small table with a plastic tablecloth, that appears to be crusted into its current position. And not that it really would’ve been useful or still good, but there’s no food anywhere to be found.

Courtney then screams. “Aaaaahhhh!!!” And while my heart definitely skips a beat, a split second later I realize it’s a happy scream.

“Matches!!! I got matches!” She says excitedly as she comes running over. And it’s not just a book, but a whole box of what appear to be perfectly usable matches. Awesome. This is huge.

We’re halfway there, and I would argue that was the harder half of the equation. “All we need now is something to burn. Anything!” I declare, as all three of us continue frantically looking around. But as exciting as my daughter’s discovery is, it soon becomes apparent that these matches might be pointless, because there is literally nothing even remotely flammable to be found. No firewood, no wooden objects, not even any paper or cloth objects to get us started. The table is metal, its table cloth is plastic, and any wood that’s part of the structure of kaçak iddaa the shack seems unlikely to be pried off with our bare hands. I even check outside and do a full loop around the building, but there’s nothing. Fuck.

And to make matters worse, it’s starting to get really dark, too. To be honest, I’m starting to panic, but I know I need to act like everything is fine to make sure my wife and daughter don’t realize how dire I think this situation might be. If we’re going to get out of this, we need to keep our wits and stay positive.

“Ok. Here’s the plan.” I say as calmly as I can. “Once it’s light out tomorrow, we can find some branches and shrubs to burn, and we’ll have heat. We’ll get a fire going and we’ll keep it going as long as we need to. Not only will that keep us warm, but the smoke will act as a signal, too.”

Beth and Courtney are both nodding their heads, as if they believe this is going to work.

Then I continue, “We just need to get through tonight. We have our coats. We’ll form a ball in that corner over there and huddle together, and we’ll get through this.”

Courtney looks like she is fighting back tears. It’s freezing in here, and we all know it.

I tell her, “Darling, I swear to god. We’re going to make it through this.” And then I ask my daughter, “Do you believe me?”

Courtney nods and the three of us all hug.

Beth then has a suggestion, “Before we settle in for the night, let’s take stock of what we have foodwise.”

“Yes. Definitely.” I agree. And then the three of us begin to search our bags, as we each had a backpack for our day of skiing. We dump everything out of them, separate out the food, and then check all of our pockets as well.

Honestly, we’re in better shape that I thought we’d be. We have a number of granola bars, some trail mix, a giant Kit-Kat, and a decent size sharable bag of pretzels. All-in-all, I’d estimate there are about 2000 calories lying on this dusty, freezing, wooden floor. Not much. But certainly not nothing.

“I say we save our first rations for tomorrow, as we all ate lunch not that long ago. I think we can at least make it ’til morning without having to break into this stash.”

“Agreed.” Courtney says.

“For sure.” Says Beth.

“Ok, let’s try making this cocoon.” I suggest, as I start taking off my jacket. My wife and daughter follow suit, and we make our way over to this one corner of the shack that appears to be completely covered in snow on the outside. I figure maybe having that extra insolation outside the walls will help, but I honestly have no idea. One thing I do realize is we could use that plastic table cloth as an outer blanket, so I go over and peel it off of the small table it was covering.

Beth lies down with her back to the wall, and then Courtney lies down next to her, basically in a full embrace. I lie down on the outside, sandwiching our daughter between the two of us. I then take our three coats and strategically drape them over us, trying to cover as much of our three-person ball as possible. From a frostbite perspective, I’m most worried about our feet, so I try to ensure our three pairs are well covered with the jackets. And then lastly, I pull the plastic shell over top or us, trapping our three heads in almost complete darkness.

“Is everyone ok?” Beth asks, and until she said that I honestly couldn’t tell which face was hers and which was Courtney’s.

“I’m good.” Our daughter answers.

“This isn’t bad at all. We’re going to get through.” I say, realizing I’ve probably said that phrase a half dozen times now. Next, I pucker my lips and give a couple of indiscriminate kisses at close range, not even sure where or on whom they’re landing. But then I feel both my wife and daughter returning the favor, as all three of us start handing out sweet, innocent, bedtime kisses to one another.

And at this point, all of this starts to really hit me. Here are my two princesses beside me, literally the only two things that matter to me in the world, and they’re miserable because of me and my mistake of getting us lost today, and I feel so shitty. I still don’t even know what wrong turn I took out there on the mountain, but I would give anything to take it back.

As our three bodies are intertwined and shivering, and our faces continue to be pressed together, I say quietly, “I’m so sorry.”

“Dad, you didn’t do anything wrong.” Courtney then tells me. “It was the blizzard. We all saw the forecast wasn’t perfect for today, but none of us wanted to miss our first day of skiing. We all chose to be out here.”

God, I love my daughter. She’s probably terrified right now and yet she’s still worried about propping me up.

“This is all going to make a great story one day.” Beth then says with an audible shiver. “I know it. But let’s get some sleep.” And then she wraps her arms around both me and our daughter and gives us the tightest, most wonderful squeeze.

I feel ok, but I don’t think I have much chance of falling asleep. And so I lie here and just think about everything.

I think about kaçak bahis my wonderful wife, Beth. God she’s so beautiful and perfect. She looked like a gorgeous snow bunny heading out to ski this morning. There’s no doubt she’s way more physically attractive than I am. She’s got this beautifully maintained, shiny brown hair, and a body at least ten years younger than her actual 44 years of age. She’s never been curvy, but she’s always been elegant, and I honestly think she continues to get more and more attractive as the years pass by.

On top of that, we very recently had a minor but noteworthy sexual awakening of sorts. Once Courtney left for college this past fall, we realized we were actually empty-nesters, and our sex life definitely benefited. But more important than having the house to ourselves, was a realization that I had. Basically my whole life, I’ve been embarrassed about my sexual thoughts. Even when I was a kid, I was always terrified that someone would find out who I had a crush on. It’s non-sensical to be so embarrassed over such a common and normal thought like having a crush, but I was never able to get past that. So I always hid those thoughts as if they were my deepest, darkest, secrets. And it made me miserable.

And this embarrassment carried on through my adult life and into my marriage, too. I was always too shy and guarded to ever let Beth know my desires, fantasies, or even how I was feeling during our times in the bedroom. To make matters worse, I think my wife is more adventurous and kinky that your average woman of the 90’s, so I think she’s always been kind of disappointed with me in this regard. Over the years, there have been countless occasions where she’s suggested something, and I can’t help but instinctively turn her down, even though I might find her idea appealing. And it could be something as benign as making love in front of the window of our hotel room, and I’d still always make up some excuse.

But over the past few months, I’ve finally started to realize that it’s ok for me to be sexual. It’s ok to share my “dirty” thoughts with my wife, and honestly, it can actually feel kind of good. A few weeks ago, I even told Beth about my biggest fantasy of all, that someday I’d like to watch her be with a younger man. I have no idea why I have this fantasy, but it’s something I’ve thought about for years, and it’s a secret I assumed I would take to my grave with me.

But Beth was so supportive, understanding, and even excited when I got the courage up to tell her. It was incredible. We made love right after, and she was dirty talking the whole time I was fucking her. It was easily one of the best orgasms of my life. Who knows if we’ll ever get a chance to have this particular fantasy play out in real life, and who knows if I even really want it to. But just telling my wife and having her see me for who I am was amazing in itself.

So now that we have turned over this incredible new leaf in our relationship, I REALLY don’t want this to be the end. I’m so looking forward to the rest of my life with Beth, and it would be so heartbreaking and tragic for us to die right here in this abandoned shack on this godforsaken mountain.

And that’s just Beth. God, I really don’t want this to be the end for my precious Courtney, either. She is literally the sweetest person I have ever met, and I don’t know how we managed to raise such a nice and caring person, but somehow we did. She gets more excited about Earth Day every year than her own birthday. But when she’s not focused on saving the ozone layer of our planet, she’s off weeding the garden of our elderly neighbors, without even mentioning it to them.

And while she’ll always be my only child and perfect little princess, she’s just now starting to transform into a grown woman right in front of our eyes. She went off to college this year! I often worry that she’s too nice for this world, and the thought of people being mean to Courtney or treating her badly actually keeps me up at night sometimes. You know that mentality that some dads have about their daughters, where they claim they’ll greet any boy who asks them out on a date with a shotgun? Well first of all, I can’t stand that frame of mind. Maybe it’s a small sample size of people I know like that, but without fail the dads who talk like that seem to always be womanizing assholes. I guess it’s no wonder why they think all guys are pricks, and can’t help but assume the worst about anyone willing to show interest in their daughter.

But anyway, with Courtney, I never once worry that she’s going to grow up and experience love and sex and all those wonderful things. In fact, I’m hoping for exactly that. Instead, I worry that she’s going to be too nice to ever get noticed, and this world is never going to appreciate just how great she is. I’m worried she’s not going to get ENOUGH attention.

In some ways, she’s the spitting image of her gorgeous mother. She’s got the same long, beautiful, brown hair. She’s got the same 5’7″ frame. And while my wife is pretty fanatical about working out and staying illegal bahis in shape, Courtney has never been into anything athletic (ironically other than skiing, and look where that got her today), so she’s a little heavier, a little rounder, and just a little softer in all regards. But she’s certainly not overweight, I mean she probably only weighs like 140 pounds, while Beth is more like 125.

But Courtney still wears glasses, no matter how many times Beth has suggested they go get her fitted for contacts. She doesn’t get excited about clothes, like I assume most girls her age do, and to be honest, I have no idea if she has ever had a boyfriend. She’s just this sweet, shy, beautiful person, and all I want for her is to be happy. Nobody deserves it more than she does, and nobody deserves this awful predicament I’ve put her in less, than my precious Courtney.

I give these two wonderful women yet another tight squeeze, and despite my doubts that I would ever fall asleep tonight, somehow I manage to do just that.

I don’t get the best night’s rest, for many obvious reasons. But once I start to see a hint of sunlight out the one unobstructed window of the shack, I decide to stand up and prepare to go looking for something to burn. I see that Beth is also awake, but our daughter Courtney is still sleeping. Amazingly, I don’t feel that cold, as I think our little cocoon worked pretty well overnight.

I get dressed with my full gear on, heavy ski boots and all, and I head out to start looking. It’s surprisingly light out already, so I don’t want to waste any time. I start by trying to see what kind of branches I can rip off with my gloved hands, and I’m able to get quite a few. This seems like a promising start, but as I’m still assessing the different types of trees and shrubs in the area, I notice a pretty sizable mound of snow just beside the back of the house. It’s large enough that it seems like it might be something manmade that’s simply being covered by the snow.

So I trek over to the spot and start digging. I stick my arm in as far as it’ll go, and sure enough I hit something. It feels like a tarp! So I start brushing the snow away, and yep, I can see now it’s a black covering of some kind. And not only that, but I can feel something loose underneath it. Something blocky. My heart is racing with excitement. Holy shit, this might be a pile of firewood!

I can’t possibly tell Beth and Courtney the good news until I know for sure, so I frantically start pushing off the snow. I’m basically using my entire body as a shovel to clear it off. It takes me awhile, but I finally get it cleared enough to where I can lift up part of the tarp. Holy fucking jackpot!!!! It’s a TON of firewood. I take two pieces and start bounding back to the door of the house. I come inside and scream as loud as I can. “Firewood!!!!!!”

Courtney had already woken up, so both she and my wife jump up and we all start hugging.

“Oh thank heavens!” Beth shouts. “How much is there?!?”

“Tons!!!” I share, excitedly. “Plenty of days worth, maybe even weeks!” I’ve probably never been more excited in my life.

“Ok, Courtney, let’s get the fire going, while you start bringing it all inside.” Beth says to me.

“Will do!” I respond.

And so I first bring in some kindling, and between that and the two logs they already have, these two amazing ladies get an honest to god fire going in no time. It’s glorious. I spend the next couple of hours shuttling all the firewood inside our shack. It’s crazy how much there is. It’s at least a full cord’s worth, so if nothing else I think we can rule out dying of hypothermia anytime soon.

Once the fire is nicely going, Courtney starts working on building a contraption using one of our waterproof coats to hold enough melted snow so we can drink it. Beth is outside arranging our three sets of skis into a giant criss-crossed pattern to make sure there’s a signal for any potential rescuers.

Everything is coming together. The shack is actually heating up quite nicely, and we confirmed there’s a column of smoke billowing out of the chimney. I’m more confident than ever it’s only a matter of time until we’re going to be saved.

But if we are going to get rescued, it becomes clear it’s not going to be right away. A full day passes like this, and then another. No sign of anyone, anywhere. With a fire going nonstop, we’ve been sufficiently warm, and we’ve had plenty of water to drink, but we’re starving. Maybe only figuratively at this point, but literally can’t be that far off. I got my skis on today and tried hiking up a little bit to see if I could spot anything noteworthy in any direction, but there was nothing. I told Beth and Courtney that tomorrow I might consider leaving first thing in the morning for a longer hike out to see what I can find, but they were both ADAMANTLY against it. So here we are, 72 hours into our ordeal. We’ve barely eaten anything, and are about to run out of the small rations we have left. Even our firewood, which seemed so plentiful when we found the stash, is starting to dwindle. We’ve already used roughly a third of it so far, so we’ll probably need to start being more conservative with how much we burn from here on out. Things aren’t looking too promising, to say the least.

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