|This beautiful old cabin is on the trail.|
Those of us arriving early had never walked at this park before, and we were not sure where the trails went. There were plenty of intersections where we had to make a decision -- left or right. At those points, we turned left knowing that on our way back we would just have to turn right.
After a couple of miles, one of our members, I'll call Suzie, said she didn't want to go 10 miles and decided to go back. A couple of us were uncomfortable with that, but we are all adults after all. We couldn't make her go farther and no one else was ready to go back.
Eventually we turned around and met up with the members of our group that started at 8:00. Everyone was very concerned when we found out that they had not seen Suzie. We went to the parking lot to see if she had somehow passed by this group, made it to the parking lot and left already. Her car was still there. At this point, we were even more worried. (I should point out that Suzie can get confused, so thinking she might get lost was not an overreaction.)
We were deciding what to do when we saw a police officer in the parking lot. He asked several questions about family, who to contact, did she have cell phone... and it dawned on us that we really did not know much about Suzie except that we all enjoyed walking with her!
At this point we separated into smaller groups to take every possible turn to look for her. Eventually we came upon Suzie with a couple other members of our club -- not one of which was carrying a cell phone! So even after she was found, they couldn't tell the rest of us they found her. One of the people with me called the others to report that Suzie was safe.
There were all kinds of things that went wrong that morning. 1) At an unfamiliar park, we should have never let anyone walk alone. 2) We should all carry our phones. 3) We need to be sure to have each others' numbers programmed in our phones. 4) And it would be a good idea for some of us to know who to contact in the event of an emergency.