That time I… got lost in the woods in the middle of the winter

By Kyle Mathas

When I was 11 years old, I was sledding down a hill with my friends in the middle of a snow-filled field. There were kids playing and parents watching as far as the eye could see. My friends and I decided that sledding down the hill wasn’t enough adventure and excitement for us and we wanted something better. 

We were at a forest preserve and we saw an opening in the forest that led to a small path created by some kind of animal. The trail looked good enough for us to explore. As we went in, I felt a bad feeling begin to grow in the pit of my stomach; but I remembered that it was winter break and, powered by the feeling of peer pressure and the promise of adventure, I went in. I remember telling my friends, “If we ever get lost, always walk the opposite direction of the way you were just walking,” thinking that the forest preserve was back there.

Eventually, we all ended up in the middle of a massive field and all my friends decided that it was time to head back. My friend and I wanted to explore more so we decided to go down a different path than the group was going because we were “still going in the right direction of the forest preserve,” but we really weren’t.

While we were walking, I started seeing footprints of boots and being the scared kid I was, I said, “People have been here, bro. I don’t trust this.” My friend didn’t care and continued walking.

That’s when I noticed that he was wearing boots and that we had been walking in circles for the last 30 minutes. We were lost in the middle of the woods in the middle of winter with no clue where we were at.

I was freaking out first and it eventually led to both of us screaming for help. While we were screaming, I heard branches breaking a couple of feet away from us and heard breathing. We ran the other way and didn’t stop running for what felt like miles.

As we were running, I stopped and fell over, realizing that running had put us farther from safety and friends. That’s when I heard faint screaming and voices from a far way off. I got up and screamed at the top of my lungs, hoping for some way of rescue. We started walking in the direction of the voices and ran into our group of friends. We were ecstatic but when we came out, we were stunned. We had been missing for an hour and a half and the cops had shown up to send a search party out to rescue us.