Often, Mike and I will go to a lake nearby that has a lot of park-like areas, trees and trails of all kinds around it. Sometimes we picnic by the lake, run or walk the gravel and bike trails, or just run around in the grassy areas with Abby Kate to get some fresh air. It's a beautiful place.
The gravel trail is really nice. The main trail is a 4.5 mile trek that stretches around the entire lake with horse trails and bike trails running around and through it. It is almost completely wooded, which is great when we run. (SHADE! It's October, but we're still melting here!) We met our friends, the Newbolds, out there a couple weekends ago and we decided to pick up some food and have a picnic by the lake.
While Mike and Colin went to get the food, Sarah and I made a hike around part of the trail to find a picnic table in the shade. Along the way, our conversation stopped short as we both heard what we thought was a cow or something. "A cow? No, what is that?" we were thinking. Then we heard it again. It was an older man yelling "HELP!" He yelled out twice more, really loud and then yelled "HELP ME!" even louder. The sound was coming from the other side of the lake, along the trail. We couldn't see him, only heard his cries. We both got chills and felt completely helpless because he was at least 3 miles away from us on foot. Unless of course we jumped in the lake and swam across - which would probably have taken me twice as long. So I called 911. The dispatcher said they'd have someone out there shortly. Looking back across the lake, I thought I saw someone in a red shirt running toward the man. Not long after, a cop came by patrolling the area, as they do regularly. I also told him about the man and he headed that way. FORTY-FIVE minutes later, we saw an ambulance show up. Still being on the opposite side of the lake, we watched and discussed it, wondering what happened to the man. Did he fall? Was he bitten by something? Was he attacked by polar bears? (Colin's speculation. haha.)
A few minutes later, another police cruiser came rolling up and asked if we'd been there long. Mike told the sheriff I'd been the one to call it in. He thanked us and then asked a few questions. Did I see anyone else? I told him about the red shirt and he asked if it could've been orange. I said no and he goes, "well, we have three suspects." I asked what happened to the man and he said they hadn't found him yet. "WHAT?!" I'm thinking. All these crazy things started going through our minds. The sheriff said they'd had mules going up and down the trails looking for the man. Really?! I said. Of course I didn't know that ATV-type vehicles were sometimes called "mules." Uh, right. Not the four-legged variety. Sarah - thanks for taking the brunt of the jokes with me on that one! Apparently the "suspects" had come out of a weird part of the woods.
Just then, an officer came over the radio in the police car and said they'd found the man. I got all nervous for a second until the sheriff said, "OK, they found him. He's OK - he just got separated from his group."
Are you kidding me?! This man is yelling like he's bleeding out and it turns out he's just split up from his friends/relatives on a path that goes in a friggin' circle?! Uh, follow the big, white gravel path, dude, it's not hard. But seriously - when you're lost for a second and looking for your friends, do you yell "HELP, HELP, HELP ME!" like your life depends on it, or do you simply shout out "Hey Bob, where'd you go?" Doesn't that sound little fishy to you? Hmmmm.
So ambulances, police and herds of "mules" all came out for nothing. Oops, my bad. Sarah can attest though - from the sound of this guy, he was in serious trouble. Plus, a few years ago, someone found a head along the gravel path. Yep, I said head - a human, severed head. A few months later, they found the headless body in a car at the bottom of the lake. (Sorry about the graphic detail.) Spooky, I know. This beautiful lake doesn't look like the place of such a gruesome crime scene. So I guess people and police are extra cautious about things around there now. I never go there by myself.
Anyway, all this to give you one valuable piece of information... did you know that when you call 911, your phone (at least mine, anyway) puts itself into emergency mode? It made this little jingle sound and stayed in this mode until I manually exited it. I guess it's so they can pinpoint your location even if you are in trouble and can't talk once you've dialed. Good to know!
This is the only picture I could find that shows part of the lake area.