Monday afternoon around 4 Zeke, who was out on the front walk, let us know that a young woman had come to our front gate. She was panting from exertion and looked ready to cry. She told us that she, her mother, and her baby sister were stuck in the woods down at the end of Wildlife Trail.
They had been looking for scrap metal to earn money and had decided to drive down the overgrown road that leads into the woods and down to the bottom of the mountain. The girl said they were about a half mile in and that they had driven over a dirt hump and then got stuck on the other side. I was hoping it was not the “dirt hump” where I turn around on the infrequent occasions when I walk the dogs that way, but, of course, it was. I turn around at that point because beyond there, the road becomes so much rockier and steeper that it’s hard even to walk. The truck was truly stuck, probably closer to a quarter of a mile in. When the girl tried to back it up, all it did was spin a tire in a cloud of rubber smoke, even with me on the back bumper.
I thought for a while, and the only plan I could come up with was to see if our neighbor Gary would be willing to use his tractor to pull the truck out. Fortunately, he was at home and was willing to give it a try.
The road close to the truck was too steep for the tractor, so we pooled our chain resources and got sufficient length to stretch from the back bumper of the truck to the back of Gary’s tractor.
The picture doesn’t do justice to the slope here. The younger woman said it was 90 degrees, but in reality, it might have approached 30 degrees. Not vertical, but steep enough.
Gary and I thought if we got the truck up to the dirt hump, the truck would have enough traction to back out by itself. That was not the case. Gary had to drag the truck almost all the way out of the woods. The road was covered with damp pine needles and leaves and even when the slope was not as bad, the truck still couldn’t get enough traction to back up on its own.
All of us eventually ended up back in civilization. Gary drove his tractor home, the older woman pulled into our driveway, and I followed. I think their truck was running well enough for them to make it back home.
Gary and I had left the young woman and the baby with Leah while the mother (We are unclear about the exact relationship among these three) accompanied us to drive the truck. That gave Leah and the dogs a chance to spend some time with them. She told Leah she thought most people would have told them to go away. The life story of the three was not happy. It involved a double-amputee husband, drug use, jail time, and health problems, along with a lack of money to pay for treatment and not qualifying for Medicaid (probably as a result of our governor’s refusal to accept federal money to expand Medicaid).
The girl told Leah she wanted a job doing something to help children, like being a pediatrician. While they talked, she got a phone call from someone who said that she could borrow money and make a career, all she had to do was first send them some money.
They seemed like nice people who had never had much of a chance, just the kind that vultures like to prey on. I suspect that if they had had to call a tow truck, it would have been a financial catastrophe for them.
The older woman (Leah thought the young woman said the older woman was 39 or so, but she looked older) fell in love with Zeke. She got down on the floor with Zeke and wanted to take him home.
She had already hugged Gary and shaken my hand in thanks. When they left, she asked if she could bring Zeke a bone for Christmas.