No matter how hard I tried to tell myself that it was okay, we were hopelessly lost. LOST. At 11pm in the middle of Goblin Valley. iPhone’s LED and our tiny headlight couldn’t shine far. We shone our lights as far as possible and it all looked the same, those columns shining orange while it was pitch black in the background.
Aidan was freaking out and crying, Oisin insisted that I was going the wrong way and I dismissed him because he was 7 years old. And Eitan was on the border of “are we lost?” versus “I’m not sure what to make of this.” For me? I had a smile plastered on my face while battling nausea and panic attack. I kept assuring Aidan that we weren’t lost. But, we really were.
Oisin kept insisting it was THAT way and I told him, “I am NOT going to rely on a 7 years old boy!!” and I decided to set up a system. I told the boys to stay where they are and that we would be 15 feet away from each other, to try and look at every direction. Of course, they wouldn’t stay, they clung onto me like a wet rag and I couldn’t get a system in to find our way back to the parking lot.
I wanted to throw up. I started thinking of Plan A, B, C and Z if we ended up being stuck in the middle of nowhere. I honestly was not afraid of being lost in that valley. We weren’t that FAR (probably 100 yards away), we weren’t alone and we were well dressed, with blankets, and it wasn’t that cold. We had bottles of water and snacks. I told myself, we could just yell for help until someone comes to us or that we could just stay put and sleep under the stars. Oh, the stars…. They were gorgeous.
Still, the sense of not knowing where were, it was like I was in an avalanche and suddenly encased into some dark snow tunnel, not knowing which way was up, down, left or right. It was like my breath was held up in midair with zero sense of direction. That feeling was scary. I tried my best not to curl up into a fetal position and close my eyes to stop that feeling of darkness creeping into my throat and heart.
I told the boys we weren’t going the right way and Aidan said, “are you blind?!?!?! It’s THAT way (opposite of where I insisted on going), look at that roof!!” I told them to turn off all lights so I can see the outline as well as see for other people’s flashlights (there were like 15 other people across the valley). All lights were off except for the stars. I still couldn’t tell the difference. Also, suddenly, there were nobody else using flashlights across the valley, I worried that we were the last ones left.
I told the boys to STAY and that I would be climbing up a tall entrada column and for them to not move. Eitan realized then I was lost and he was scared, Aidan was wailing and Oisin said, “my god, it IS that way, I know where! Trust me!”
I went up and scanned the outline. I saw a “roof” looking thing that seemed manmade and decided to shine my iPhone’s LED there… I saw nothing but more hills. I turned to let them know that it was the wrong way, but then, I noticed something. A rail to the stairways. Thank HEAVENS.
Oisin was correct. He was so sure of where we were. I later commented to him that I was very impressed and apologized to him that I said I wouldn’t rely on a 7 years old. He responded, “well, old people forget easy, I wouldn’t rely on old people” (burn). He seriously was the hero of the night.
The relief we had when we got to our car was immeasurable. Aidan was so upset that he declared that he will never hike in the dark again and we all unanimously agreed. Hours later in Mer, I was still shaken from that experience. The boys have zero idea that I nearly went into panic mode. That ordeal only lasted 20 minutes tops.
What still has me shaken to the core is, I kept insisting to go THAT way because I remembered coming down from there. It was all three of my boys who threw a big fuss (especially Oisin) telling me that I was going the wrong way and kicked up a storm when I didn’t listen. I relented. Thank god I did, otherwise, we would have spent the night with the Goblins.
just a mother who fled from society's constraints and is super excited to wake up to the outdoors, remain braless daily and teach her boys the art of boredom and discovery.