Her body ached as she climbed another hill. She missed home, but even the campsite would be better than this. Wandering through the forest was not her idea of a good time and the growing darkness made her nervous. Jonathan swatted at another mosquito next to her and she heard the slap of his hand against his thigh once more. “Molly, I can’t take these bugs anymore! They are eating me alive.
She nodded and looked around. There were trees, many trees. From the top of the hill, she could see several more hills and more trees. With no water in site, Molly had no way to follow the river to trace their footsteps back to the campground. They had two choices; stop for the night and try to do the best they could, or keep going and risk tripping. Worse yet, they could fall off a cliff once it got dark. The hills were steep around them.
Peter stirred from the warp he was in. She carried him tight to her body, covered with a blanket to keep the bugs off him but now that he was waking up it was going to be much harder to keep him bug-free. Eli would be waking up soon too. Molly tried to remember what items they had in their pack. They had taken turns in the last couple of hours, one carrying their pack where Eli rested comfortably. The other carried Peter, snuggled up his wrap, and a small diaper backpack on their back. He was only three months old, young enough to weigh very little, but still heavy after several hours of walking. They never should have come out this way.
Molly knew they had water bottles, one on each side of Eli’s carrying pack. There should be enough diapers to get the boys through the night, she was over prepared that way, and a few snacks to keep them from getting too hungry. Still, there was no guarantee they would make it back tomorrow. She couldn’t worry about that for now though. For now, they were going to have to stop for the night. They had to have shelter for the boys and it just wasn’t safe to walk in this terrain once it grew dark.
“Let’s stop for the night.” She slide the diaper backpack off her back, and turned to help Jonathan gently lift Eli out of the pack. He mumbled, but stayed sleeping. Jonathan quickly took off the jacket he had tied around his waist and laid it on the ground. Eli could sleep here for now. She was grateful she had insisted on the boy wearing a jacket and pants, along with his Seney Wildlife Refuge Hat. At least it kept most of the bugs off of him.
….To Be continued.