Written by John Davis
Bold steps carried him from the mountain in a rushing walk, increasing speed as the elevation dropped. Darius wrestled his pack to the over sized rock near the water and dropped belly flat on the sand near the base of the path. He’d seen better days, but he would survive this one, too.
Face down, he washed the crusted blood from his neck and shoulder, allowing the cold to seep through him, easing the pain. Most didn’t survive a run in with a Grizzly, but most were not Darius Glover, Lone Hunter of the North Woods.
Darius quickly wrapped the wounded shoulder in a clean white cloth, and pulled a sleeping bag from his pack. Exhaustion along with the pain of fighting the bear was quickly taking a toll.
He needed rest before he could make his way further down the mountain. And he had to sleep before dark. The bear might try to follow him in the dark. He slithered into the bag and closed his eyes.
The night birds sang, and crickets chirped. Darius struggled to awaken, but he felt suffocated, hot, and sweaty. He struggled, but he slept. Feverish, he awakened in the darkness, looked about and let his eyes adjust to the stillness. Trembling, he unzipped the bag and rose to a seated position on the rock. He could hear the water rippling along the creek behind him, and he felt a sense of peace surrounding him.
Night in the Rocky Mountains could be blissfully sweet.
He hadn’t set up his tent. With the use of only one arm, it would have been a hopeless mess. Now, he rolled his sleeping bag, tied it on the pack and lifted the pack onto his back.
It had to be looped over his sore shoulder, to carry it, and he cringed as he seated the strap over the shoulder. His struggle was real.
The water sounded close and he remembered it being near the rock. But he didn’t take time to search for the water, he had to get moving. He turned on the headlamp and moved along the trail. It was an easy walk to the nearest highway, and someone would be passing by. He needed people. He needed medical care. He walked.
Along the trail he found a few wild animals, but nothing that wanted to eat him. Mostly deer, raccoon, a porcupine nibbling at the remains of something, and the sounds of birds in the trees. He walked. He kept determinedly putting one foot in front of the other, intentionally not counting his steps. He didn’t want to know how far he’d come, he just wanted to get there. He struggled to take each step.
He kept walking.
Near the base of the trail, he heard traffic, the drone of a truck somewhere below. He kept walking.
The adrenaline of the battle had dropped and his energy lagged. Darius knew he had to get somewhere, so he could get help. He kept walking. By the time he reached the highway, the sound of traffic was gone. He stood on the side of the road, leaning against the railing and waited. He’d walked along the highway until he arrived at a pull out and stood there, waiting. He’d pulled a white shirt from his pack, hoping to be seen by a traveler if he waved the shirt.
Before long he heard another truck coming and started waving the shirt with his good arm. He waved it until he heard the truck slow.
Walking toward the truck he heard the driver say, “Climb in!”
Inside the cab, he quickly said, “I was attacked by a grizzly. I need a hospital.”
The driver answered, but Darius didn’t hear him. He had passed out on the seat from the struggle to get into the cab. Feverish, he slumped in the seat against his pack, and the trucker drove.