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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)

TITLE: GPS Malfunction
By Allison Egley


I turned to Dave, “We are probably the only two people in the world who could get lost on a well-marked trail while using a GPS device!” He agreed.

It all started the other day when I went hiking with my husband, Dave. It was his idea. Not mine. I like beds, pillows, and chocolate that isn’t melted when you take it out of a backpack.

We had been hiking for a while when we suddenly found ourselves in a deep valley. I asked, “Dave, where are we?”

“In a valley.”

“Thank you Captain Obvious! So, where are we supposed to be?”

“The trail.”

“Another point for Captain Obvious! Ok, Mister Know-It-All. Where IS the trail?”

After calculating the position on his GPS device, Dave replied, “The path is only 30 feet away!”

Elated, I asked, “What direction?”

He pointed to the solid rock of the mountain in front of us. That GPS device doesn’t seem so fancy when it can’t detect altitude. We both looked up at the sheer rock wall, wondering exactly how far it extended.

Certain I would never see modern civilization again, I sat down on a log to arrange funeral plans. I only got as far as the color of my casket before I leaped up, doing the “ants-in-your-pants” dance. No, I didn’t have some brilliant idea. I literally had ants in my pants! I had accidentally sat on the home of the local tribe of fire ants.

Finally, deciding to do something proactive, Dave and I yelled to the seemingly imaginary people on the trail above with no success. I was feeling hopeless. “Lord!” I begged, “Send me a sign that we will get out of here alive!” Looking up I saw three buzzards circling overhead. “Very funny Lord,” I replied, hoping the Lord had a sense of humor and was not delivering an actual prophecy.

As I looked around the valley, I was hoping to see something that would help us out. My first thought was perhaps we had accidentally packed something that might be useful in our backpack. No such luck. All we had were a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, two leaky water bottles, and two used matches. I walked over to the stream, wondering if the water was drinkable. I looked down at three dead fish. I think the Lord is still laughing.

Disappointed and dejected that there was nothing useful in the entire valley, I tried to find a comfortable rock to sit on to continue my funeral arrangements. Just when I was trying to decide between an oak or cedar casket, I heard a very loud, angry roar. I jumped ten feet in the air, expecting to come face to face with a twenty-foot grizzly bear. It was only Dave’s stomach. He silently handed me half of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich to calm my nerves.

As nightfall approached, we realized even if people were looking for us, they would have to stop the search for the night.

“Dave, where are we going to sleep?”

“On the rocks.”

“Well, what will we use as pillows?”

“Big rocks.”


As I tried to fall asleep on the hard rock, I noticed every little sound. Was the twenty-foot bear behind me? Had she eaten enough? What about her cubs? Next, I thought I heard a snake. I wondered if playing dead would help. I finally fell asleep, wondering if I would ever wake up again.

Early the next morning, I awoke to strange sounds.

“It’s probably just helicopters, honey. Go back to sleep,” Dave told me.

After realizing the implications of his words, we leaped up and down, waving our fluorescent pink and orange ponchos around. Praise the Lord for nosey and over reactive neighbors. They must have called the police when our lights weren’t on at 10 pm. We had told them of our plans, only because we knew they would be over for our daily after dinner chat. They never could get it through their heads that they were the only ones who enjoyed the daily chat.

After they sent the rangers on the ground to find us, they made sure we weren’t injured, and led us back to the trailhead. Dave suggested we try this again next weekend, assuring me we couldn’t make the same mistake twice. No thanks. From now on, my idea of roughing it is staying in a hotel without room service and a full time masseuse.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/17/06
Hilarious! What a fun, witty voice, and a grin in every paragraph. Love it!
Dave Kissling08/18/06
Very funny and right on target, especially the part about sitting on the rock making funeral arrangements. So true to life, since some women (and a few men) don't go for hiking.

However, I was a little puzzled over the phrase "seemingly imaginary people". Are they real people she thought were mirages, or did she actually imagine other hikers on the trail?
Joanne Sher 08/19/06
This was SO fun and enjoyable. Exceptional writing! The only paragraph that didn't seem to flow to me was the second to last - but that just could be me. Keep writing!
Jacqueline Zerres08/19/06
Loved the story. Great dialogue! Hope you place.
Mo 08/21/06
Very nicely done!
Evan Peck08/21/06
Very enjoyable. I especially liked the conversation. It gave me the impression that all of this actually happened to you. In fact, I didn't even consider it to be fiction until I thought about the possibility at the end. Fun
Rita Garcia08/22/06
This is sooo funny,great story! I love the way you made the character come to life right off the page.
Helen Paynter08/22/06
I really enjoyed this. I was chickling all the way through. You have a light humorous way of storytelling.
terri tiffany08/22/06
Very cute! Good descriptions- I was there with them.:)
Brenda Craig08/22/06
Yes, like the others I grinned and chuckled through the whole thing. Delightful and fun. Excellent writing!
Rita Garcia08/24/06
YAY! ALLISON!Way to go!
CONGRATULATIONS! A wonderful story!
william price08/24/06
OHHH Allison, this is sooo good!!! I loved the creativity, the humor, and the honesty and freshness in which it was delivered. Congratulations on a very well deserved ribbon. I look forward to reading more from you. God Bless.
Linda Watson Owen08/24/06
Congratulations, Allison! Great story! Great job!! Enjoy the limelight! :)
Valerie Routhieaux08/24/06
I liked this. Very good imagry. I can so relate to the woman in the story. I get lost so easily. It's comforting to know that gps's don't always work. Good job. Keep writing and sharing.
Pamela Rosario08/24/06
You have a great gift. This was so enjoyable. Looking forward to more.
Sharlyn Guthrie08/24/06
Very funny! My husband is a GPS nerd, too, so I could relate! Congratulations!
Matthew Gedeon09/02/06
That was masterfully written. If it wasn't a real life event, then you have an imagination that is hard to match...for that matter, your creativity with phrases is hard to match as well.