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An Adirondack Adventure

By Sally Steele

It all happened when four greenhorn hikers, who thought they knew what they were doing, were following the Adirondack trail for the first time.  At the sight of a weasel, an animal they'd never seen in the wild, they strayed off the trail for a better look and got lost.

It was well for them that they'd trained in their local parks for this adventure, but they'd never been anywhere that didn't have cell towers to pick up a signal for their phones. They knew they were in trouble and ended up tramping through the woods for several hours in a futile attempt to find their way back.

In the waning light of sunset, they had the good fortune to stumble into a clearing in which stood an abandoned hunting cabin.  Under a moss-covered roof, four decaying walls still stood. In one wall was an opening where there was once a window.  They went around to the other side and found a door, angled off the jamb on one hinge, allowing easy entrance.  It wasn't much, but it was shelter for the night.

They settled in, sitting down to a meal of protein bars and bottled water, each choosing where to bed down.  It was a pristine early autumn night with a clear starlit sky, prompting Gordon, who dabbled in astronomy, to choose a place by the window to look out at the stars.

Sleep soon fell upon them, but sometime in the darkest hour of the night, a nearby howl startled them out of their slumber. 

"What was that?" One of them gasped.

"A wolf, I think," said another

The third hiker, their resident wildlife expert because he liked to watch nature films said, "That wasn't a wolf. It was too guttural."

"Then what was it?"

Swallowing hard, Gordon volunteered to have a look.  He rose to one knee and peeked out the corner of the window.

"I don't see anything," he said.

A loud thump made him turn around and look. The door had been pulled off and filling the frame was a hulking bipedal beast, its shoulders heaving as it emitted a slobbering growl.

Gordon wasted no time.  With a surge of adrenaline, he leapt out the window and dashed through the woods, thrashing against low branches and thorny bushes.  Panic kept him going until he saw a glimmer of light.  He veered toward it.  Step by step he made his way closer to civilization, never stopping until he collapsed by a fire surrounded by sleeping campers.

The vacationers, who also happened to be seasoned hunters, sprang to his aid.  Between gasps, Gordon tried to relay his message, but he was unintelligible. The campers gave him sips of whiskey and water and got him up to walk around to cool down.  Once Gordon was able to speak clearly, he told them about the fearsome monster that had attacked his friends at the cabin.

They wasted no time grabbing what they needed to track their way to the point of the tragedy.  By this time, the early rays of sun shed enough light for them to follow Gordon's route made by broken branches and trampled ferns.

Bringing him along, they made their way back, taking every precaution lest they meet up with the creature en route.  When they came upon the scene, they waited and watched, expecting to smell death in the air.  Then they heard a groan.  With guns at the ready, they made a coordinated approach to take down the animal they believed was still in there.

In a lurch, they all looked inside through every available opening and stopped short.  Instead of seeing gore and mayhem.  Instead of seeing the remnants of a savage attack.  Instead of seeing mutilated bodies strewn about - their eyes beheld three hikers and a sasquatch playing poker.






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