Monday, January 14, 2013
Ultimate Things on a Simple Hike
On Saturday it was in the 60's here in Missouri. I spent the morning hiking and learning lines. I made a point of hiking in the morning, for the forecast called for a cold front moving in with rain in the afternoon.
By evening, it was in the 20's and the rain had turned to ice.
On the same Saturday, a man from Millstadt, Illinois took his wife and kids camping in the Missouri Ozarks, as an anniversary present, not too far from St. Louis. He went on a hike with two of his sons on Saturday afternoon, when it was still in the 60's. They reached their destination, but what should have been a two-hour return walk turned into disaster when the father and the boys took the wrong path back.
They were found dead early Sunday, soaking wet from the rain and ice, having spent the night wandering in the cold, the father's cell phone uncharged. By then the temperature was in the 20's.
Missouri is not a particularly remote state. Hiking here is generally less dangerous than hiking in the truly remote spots out West, or in the mountains of New England. Except the closest I've ever come to death was on a hike here in Missouri. I wrote about that shortly after it happened.
It is hard to imagine how close we are to death, as we sit by our computer screens in our centrally heated houses in the suburbs. But it's true, and stories like this bring the point home.
May God have mercy on David Decareaux, his sons Dominic and Grant, and their surviving family members.
And may we never forget the Last Things.