His words came back to me now, "Watch out for quicksand." I felt the tightening grip on my feet, my legs. So far from the trail I trotted off, to answer the call of nature. How ironic. Was this now nature's last word?
Vaguely I recalled I was supposed to swim, but with only my legs, well, now my knees?
I hoped this wasn't very deep as I struggled. I tried to recall which side of a creek was the deepest. Can't recall. Outside of the bend? Inside? I'm probably in the deepest part. It's my luck, or destiny.
Now at my waist, I can see the world rising higher above me. At a child's height this wilderness looks more ominous. The leaves whisper as I struggle. Can anything be more foreboding than the level reaching my chest?
Nobody around to witness me. I went hiking alone in this lovely lush Utah riparian area. And it is a deep creek bed, crowded with vegetation. All factors that absorb sound. Absorb breath. I yell anyway. It sounds...useless.
I live 50 years and this is it? No fanfare except the fanning of my arms as it reaches my neck.
Oh God, it's a vulture overhead! The sun is right in my eyes now as I look downstream. Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be hikers. Crazy thoughts like this race through my head. When was the last time someone died by quicksand in the US?
It feels like I've been stuck in this gooey, sticky mud for hours. I'm cold, cold and really, really stuck. Darkness is coming; I'm exhausted. They'll find me tomorrow. Just follow the vultures. I'll probably make the National news.
Is that the sky starting to lighten? Am I dead or alive? Strong hands have a hold of body parts I am not even sure are mine anymore. It was a trial of endurance. So thankful they found me.
Later I died of pneumonia, but much, much later. It had that same suffocating feeling. But without the vultures.