After this shot, we had to snap the backpack straps on Seth, but I couldn't resist the picture first:) Such a little adventurer!
The view was just amazing...aside from the Phoenix smog...haha.
I have lived in Phoenix for a decade now and Peter was raised in Arizona. We know just how unforgiving the desert can be...the sun was going down...and I had seen that car pulling out of the parking lot. Even though the older kids said that Wesley did not get in that car, I was not ruling out the possibility.
Peter began running back up the trail yelling Wesley's name with one of our older boys and I continued to explain to the 911 operator just exactly where we were.
A couple coming down the trail behind us joined in the search.
Time really just stood still.
I saw Peter and the man helping us look for Wesley disappear over a hill. Some of the kids were huddled together waiting by Seth, who was still in the backpack that had been set down. I was at the entrance of the parking lot where I had run to read the sign to the 911 operator. If ever a moment of my life has lasted for an eternity...that was the moment. I was looking back and forth from the hill which Peter just disappeared over...to my sweet babies huddled together at the base of the hill...to the sign that I was reading...to the road that just carried away a vehicle. Every worst case scenario was playing through my mind. How could he be gone so fast. I had just seen him...and yet...he was gone. As I roboticly answered questions, I tried to stop my mind from going places that would not be helpful.
He was all alone.
He was just a few feet away from us but because of the wind noise he never heard us calling his name and we never heard him crying. The man that was helping us look heard a faint crying and led Peter down to find him.
But now he was safe.
There are no words to adequately describe the range of emotion that I felt as I saw Peter come over that hill with Wesley and I explained to the 911 operator that Wesley was found and alright.
My heart rejoiced!
I needed to just hold him in my arms to shew away the emotions that had consumed me over the last moments...which were an eternity...but actually only 10-15 minutes.
We had that talk right then and there and then Peter and I began to discuss what we could have done to be better prepared for such an incident. Here are the things that we do to prepare for a hike plus the changes that we are making. If you take kids hiking or camping, please consider these precautions.
6. Take frequent water breaks and check that everyone is still with your group.
7. Have a cell phone (or two) in your group.
8. Know your hiking trail/area and where the nearest emergency facility is located.
For the rest of the evening I found myself just staring at Wesley...amazed at how quickly he was gone...amazed that while he was out of my sight, he was never out of the hands of our loving Heavenly Father. My heart is still rejoicing that my lost little one is found...tucked into his bed sleeping peacefully!
After dinner and baths we gathered together in the family room and thanked Jesus for protecting Wesley and bringing him safely back to us. Peter read the parable of the lost sheep and how the shepherd left the 99 and went to look for the 1. What a picture my kids had in their heads as they remembered the way that Peter left everyone and ran to look for our little lost Wesley. They experienced the rejoicing when he was found. What a picture of how our Heavenly Father runs after us when we are lost in our sin. How He wants so desperately to "find" us and how He rejoices when we choose to turn to Him. While I would never choose to go through that (or any tough situation really...haha) for the lesson, I am grateful that we can learn from every situation.
I don't think any of us will soon forget the events of this day. But I think we may take a break from hiking for a while...maybe 20 years or so!
I think I will go sit by his bedside for a while and watch him sleep...my heart rejoices:)