“We what?!” Ellie answered angrily. “It’s getting dark and it’s snowing. We have no idea where we are and because of you, we are totally out of bounds where the ski patrol can’t find us. But yeah, everything will be fine, Lilly.”
“You’re such a tool!” Lilly muttered under her breath.
“What did you call me?!!” Ellie half shouted.
“I said that you were a tool,” Lilly muttered between clenched her teeth.
The cousins continued to bicker while the valley steadily darkened around them.
“STOP IT!!!” Ellie screamed at the top of her voice.
“Okay ,okay. Stop yelling before you cause an avalanche,” Lilly said. “I know that I got us lost and I’m sorry but getting mad at each other won’t help at all. If anything it will make things worse.”
“Okay fine. You’re right. I’m sorry that I got mad at you and yelled,” Ellie conceded.
“Well, I forgive you too. So now that you have forgiven me, let’s work on making a plan to get out of here,” Lilly said.
“Let’s look at the map first and try to find out where we are.” Ellie said, standing up and taking the map from Lilly. She pointed out where they had been that day and where she though where they were.
“Uhh, okay then, so what should we do now?” Lilly asked.
“Well what I think that we should try to get back to the cat track that we were on and then skate up the main trail from there and/or get to a place where the ski patrol can find us.” Ellie said
“Well, I hope it works because if it doesn’t we will have to spend a night in the woods.”
“Okay, we had better get going then and try to follow our tracks back.”
“But we already tried that!” Lilly whined.
“I know but we have to try.”
The girls turned around and followed their tracks back into the trees.
“Lilly,” Ellie said concernedly and half an hour later, “I’m really sorry, but I think that by following our tracks we are getting out selves more lost.”
“I really think that the cat track is just up here,” Lilly said, pointing into the gnarled evergreens ahead of them. “ You even said so and remember we were….”
“Shhhhhhh,” Ellie said, cutting her cousin off. “Did you hear that?”
“Don’t you be shooshing me!” Lilly demanded angrily.
Ellie ignored her and headed toward the sound. “Come on, it’s right behind us at the bottom of that hill, I think.”
Bewildered, Lilly followed her cousin. She was still angry at Ellie but she would do anything to get them out of their predicament.
The cousins edged forward as a loud cry of pain echoed through the darkening valley and up through the trees. Around a bend, they came across a face twisted in pain, a blonde-haired, brown-eyed face, the face of Angela Adams. Angela was sitting in a heap on the snow, holding her left knee and writhing in pain. She could not see the girls.
“Oh gosh,” Ellie breathed, pulling her cousin behind a group of trees.
“What should we do?” Lilly asked anxiously “She is obviously hurt.”
Ellie glanced around the trees and said, “She’s holding her knee. Maybe she twisted it?”
“Well obviously,” Lilly answered.
“Listen, Lilly” Ellie said “We’re lost and she is by the look of it hurt.”
“Yeah, so?” Lilly replied
“So we can help each other.”
Lilly opened her mouth as if to protest but Ellie cut her off.
“Okay, I know that you hate her. I do too, but like I said, she is hurt and we are lost. Her dad probably sent her to come look for us or she came anyway for some reason and so she probably knows where we are!” Ellie put an emphasis on the last six words.
“Okay fine,” Lilly said, throwing up her hands. “We can go help Angela but if she calls you a meathead or something its not my fault.”
“Come on then,” Ellie said, and they moved out from behind the trees.
“What are you doing here?”
“’ looking for you guys,” answered Angela. I had a hunch you guys would be here because that’s what I would’ve done. The problem is I didn’t tell anyone where I was going. And now I’ve hurt my knee. I think it’s my ACL.”
“Well, do you expect us to help?” demanded Lilly.
“Shut up, Lilly.” Ellie snarled under her breath. Her cousin was really starting to get on her nerves. “Sure Angela is mean at school,” she thought, “but we are lost, she is in trouble and we can help each other. Why can’t Lilly get that?” She turned to Angela, “Do you know the way back, Angela?”
“Yeah,” Angela said.
“Good,” Ellie said. She had a plan and took charge. “Lilly, can you please go get some branches? I saw a new fallen one over there” she said, pointing into the trees. “And Angela, I’m sorry but I’m going to need to break your ski poles.”
“What?! Why?” Angela asked.
“Lilly is going to make a brace out of them. I would use Lilly’s or mine but we are going to need them, and seeing as you can’t ski, it seems like a good idea to use your’s,” she said picking up Angela’s poles. “I think Lilly has some tape or bandages in her pack that she can use to make a brace. While she does that, I’ll go and find the trail.”
The girls worked on putting Ellie’s plan into action.
While Lilly was getting the branches for the brace, Angela turned to Ellie and quietly said, “Thanks, Ellie. Hey, I’m sorry that I was mean to you the other day at REI.”
“No matter,” Ellie replied, “but you should really apologize to Lilly.”
“I will.” Angela said.
After a few minutes, the girls were ready to execute their plan.
“You can just follow my tracks from earlier because your tracks will have been filled in by the snow. My tracks should get you back to the trail,” Angela said.
“Okay. Wish me luck!” Ellie said and skated off. Lilly and Angela watched her black helmet disappear thought the trees. It was fully dark by now and the two girls sat waiting under an old pine tree that would shake snow onto them every once in a while.
“Would you like the rest of the Luna bar?” Lilly asked, holding out the half wrapped snack.
Angela smiled shyly. “I’m sorry that I have been such a jerk to you,” she said quietly. Angela felt that it was time for her to apologize to Lilly. Apologizing to Ellie was easy but to Lilly she knew it would be a challenge.
Lilly looked up for a second and then looked back down at Angela’s leg that she was splinting. “Its okay,” she said, looking up again and smiling. “I admit that I was a pretty big meathead also, getting us into this predicament. My dad is going to KILL me!”
“Mine too,” said Angela, very relieved that Lilly had forgiven her. “He kept telling me to stay right behind him so that I wouldn’t get lost and the Ski patrol wouldn’t have to look for me too. I even got in trouble for petting one of the dogs.”
“Ohh,” Lilly said “What kind of dog was it?” Dogs were her favorite animals aside from elephants.
“It was a black lab puppy,” Angela said smiling, “He is being trained to be a search dog.
Ellie had been following Angela’s tracks for ten or so minutes when she edged around a bend and burst out into the open trail. She smiled, removed her skis and started hiking up the cat track. When she reached the top of the hill she leaned over breathing heavily. Then she listened as hard as she could. She heard voices, they were a long way off but there were surely people somewhere nearby. She yelled at the top of the voice for then to come. She was not a big fan of yelling, but she had left her skis at where they had gone off the trail so that the ski patrol would know where Lilly and Angela were. She didn’t want to run down the trail to find the people so she yelled.
After a minute or so a small black shape came gliding towards her over the snow. To her bewilderment, it was a dog. A small black lab puppy ran up to her and pounced licking her all over her face. It had a Search and Rescue coat on. Soon afterward, the ski patrol came trekking up the hill with their skis over their shoulders. Ellie knew that everything would end up okay.
Lilly and Angela’s conversation carried them further along into a new friendship, so when the ski patrol found them an hour later they were merrily chatting like old friends.