At The Holier Grail, it’s always a joy to hear of the miraculous. The thrill never diminishes. When a story comes through that is otherwise unexplainable, I don’t spend a good deal of time trying to prove or disprove what I hear. I’m a bit cynical and moderately discerning as to the validity of an event, but I also have an innate sense of these things. It’s one of the reasons I love to write this blog. If I’m privileged to hear about a circumstance that brought joy and faith to someone’s life, I don’t take it through the acid test that the Church of Rome does, I simply, and delightfully chalk it up to a miracle, and choose to leave it at that.
Whatever your mindset, here at The Holier Grail I love to cater to the idea that we are surrounded by miracles everyday. To those who love to hear stories about extraordinary events, allow me to share with you the miracle of a father and son who were caught in an unexpected snow storm in the Fall of 2005.
He came to kill them and they ended up saving his life.
Fall is a gorgeous time of the year and with it comes the urge for domestic hunters to get out and do their part to thin the herds. In the mountains west of Denver, hunting elk is often a yearly family affair. On a beautiful, sunny, warm September day it was no different for Jake and his16 year old son Ryan. They ventured out for the day in hopes of locating a sizable ruck. Serious hunters, but not planning to be far from home the two dressed in warm, but not insulated, winter clothing.
The idea was to spend half the day scouting, and going out for a determined hunt with a couple of other buddies the next day. Wandering deep into the familiar back country, the two decided to take separate trails that ran parallel to one another with about 500 yards between them. The plan was to meet up at the river basin in about an hour. This was, something they had done often enough to be comfortable doing again this day.
As will happen in the Rocky Mountains at higher elevations, the weather can and did change very quickly. The sky became overcast, the wind picked-up and it began to snow. The hunters suddenly found themselves in white-out conditions. Visibility was just a few feet in any direction, and staying on the trail was not as easy. Ryan found himself disoriented and lost. His father began to cut trail and take what he thought was a direct route to his son.
They were both veterans of this area and Jake was confident that he would locate his boy fairly quickly. He didn’t. A couple of hours went by, the weather just got worse and Jake reluctantly decided he would be better able to find his son if he went back to home base, got more help and warmer clothes. By the time he reached the cabin, weather conditions were more severe, and no one could even get in to help with the search. They had to wait until daybreak. Jake began to pray.
Meanwhile Ryan wandered aimlessly and finally out of sheer exhaustion laid down under a tree and huddled into a tight ball to keep warm. He says he doesn’t remember much because he was so cold, tired and scared that his mind wasn’t clear. He escaped into sleep. The perfect recipe for hypothermia. The next morning he awoke warm, to a bright blue sky and a strong musky animal odor.
He groggily looked around him and discovered he was tightly surrounded by a small herd of female elk. The more Ryan moved the more the herd was alerted and began to rustle into action. Little by little the animals got up and left the boy by himself. He had been kept warm by the body heat of the elk. At that moment he said he realized his life was spared because of a miraculous reaction from another species.
No longer disoriented, he could pick out a couple of landmarks that guided him back towards the cabin. He was soon met by his father and a rescue party with open arms and smiling faces. When Ryan told his father what had happened, it was rightfully received as a miracle.
He owed his son’s life to the very elk he was hoping to hunt and kill. They both had a different appreciation for Mother Nature and the gifts she delivers. They still enjoy Fall in the back country hunting elk herds, but now they are hunting with cameras, better common sense and an entirely different appreciation of the majestic Rocky Mountains.