Lost in the Canyon

“Lost in the Canyon,” New Era, Mar. 2014, 26–27

Lost in the Canyon

Zackary Bradshaw is serving a mission in the Peru Piura Mission.

With the sun settingbehind the mountains, it was not a good time to be lost.

Lost in the Canyon

Photo illustration by Ilda Masa/iStock/Thinkstock

On the first morning of our vacation, my family and I went snowboarding. After several runs and then lunch, my father, my older brother, and I decided to try a new trail. We snowboarded for quite some time through unfamiliar territory, encountering strange obstacles that you wouldn’t normally find on a regular ski trail. We weaved through trees and pushed through the endless snow until we discovered we’d taken a wrong turn at the top of the mountain. Now near the bottom of the canyon, we realized we were lost.

We were standing in three feet of snow, and aside from the few pine trees that dotted the canyon, everything was white. We had no idea where to go. It was three o’clock in the afternoon; in a few hours, the sun would set and temperatures would drop dramatically. Plus, the ski patrol went home at four o’clock. If we didn’t get help soon, we’d have to spend the night in the freezing cold, stranded in a snowy canyon without food, water, or clothes that would keep us warm enough through the night. I didn’t even want to think about what might happen to us.

We knew that contacting Mom was the only way we’d get out of the canyon that night. So we got out our phone, but we didn’t have any reception and the battery was almost dead. We adjusted the settings on the phone so an alarm would go off if we got to a place with service, and then we wandered anxiously as the sun sank lower behind the mountain.

As it got darker and colder, our chances for survival seemed to decrease. I began to worry. “What if we don’t make it out tonight?” I thought. Feeling overwhelmed and scared, the three of us offered a prayer to Heavenly Father asking for safety and for the comfort of the Holy Ghost. We asked Heavenly Father to help us find our way out of the canyon, to meet our physical needs, and to allow us to contact help.

As we opened our eyes, we saw a small trail, and the Holy Ghost prompted us to follow it south. Hiking through three feet of snow in winter gear is not an easy task, but we felt God’s merciful hand pushing us forward.

We reached the top of a small hill, and the phone beeped. We didn’t dare move from where we stood. Carefully, I pulled out the phone and sent Mom a message explaining our dire situation and asking her to contact the ski patrol.

By this point, the sun had almost disappeared behind the mountain. Temperatures averaged -25º Fahrenheit (-32º C) and were dropping fast. We were wet, cold, and tired, and we still had no idea where to go. “We could die out here,” I thought.

Then we heard voices—people were yelling for us! We yelled back and waved our arms around to try to get their attention. The ski patrol followed the sound of our voices until they saw us. They led us safely out of the canyon, and we were reunited with Mom, who waited just outside the mouth of the canyon. We had been saved.

As soon as I sat down, my tired body collapsed, the setting sun disappeared behind distant mountains, and my cell phone’s battery died. Heavenly Father had given us just enough energy and time to safely make it out of the canyon. He had heard our prayers and granted them to the fullest.

I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who hears our prayers and watches over us.