STORY TIME: Stranded in the desert

Shelbie Goulding

Shelbie Goulding

On the last day of our spring break in Arizona, I decided to go horseback riding at a ranch near Lake Pleasant with my friends, Carolyn and Amanda. It was 25 minutes north of the resort and we were told an Uber would be able to pick us up from our location. We had to use Uber because we weren’t old enough to rent a car, and none of our cars would have made a drive from Kent to Arizona.

After horseback riding for an hour, we thought we’d hike to the lake from the ranch. We attempted to do so, but about a half mile down the road, we realized it was much farther than we anticipated. We doubted an Uber would find us down by the lake rather than where we were (at a T section before the lake and the ranch).

We all looked at our phones as we were about to order the Uber, only to realize we had no service.

We knew we couldn’t go back to the ranch because our guide couldn’t get any service when we tried to pay by credit card, plus it was the opposite direction of where we needed to go. The three of us wanted to hike after riding horses anyway, so we made this work. We started walking down North Castle Hot Springs Road.

We hiked for three more miles. We still had no service and the sun was almost at its peak for the day, the hottest hours.

I was beginning to feel dehydrated and sipped some of Amanda’s water a couple of times. Amanda’s sun poisoning was beginning to rise, and Carolyn was having a minor allergic reaction to the horses.

Cars kept passing by, happily waving to us. We wondered why nobody thought to ask if we were all right. Maybe seeing three girls walk down the road in the middle of the desert was normal to these Arizonans. But then a sheriff passed by, and he didn’t even stop to check on us. Seriously?

We kept walking until we reached the peak of a hill where the road began to curve, Amanda and Carolyn got service. We stood there for a good 20 minutes before realizing no Uber was going to drive to our location, on a road in the middle of the desert. Carolyn decided to call the resort to let them know we were stranded without a ride.

While she was on the phone, I looked back at the direction we came from. A black truck was heading our direction and stopped by us. It was the sheriff, and let me tell you, he was so fine. He was hands down the most attractive cop any of us had ever seen.

Carolyn was on the phone with the concierge at this time, and she sent a worker from the resort to come get us while the sheriff kept us company. We waited 25 more minutes.

He stayed with us the entire time as we were drenched in sweat and daydreaming of burgers [veggie burgers for Amanda] and milkshakes.

Eventually the worker from the resort pulled up in a white ford and we were saved. We headed back to the resort only to leave for an In-and-Out burger.

We walked close to four miles in the desert. For three Midwesterners, that’s impressive. Hopefully next time we’ll be old enough to rent a car or the law will change soon so college kids like us don’t get stranded somewhere on their spring break.

Shelbie Goulding is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected]