Snow is scary stuff. Sure, it looks pretty coming down from a cloudy sky, dusting the evergreens with white.
But if you’ve spent any time out in the snow in the dead of winter, you know how it can become fatal in no time flat. Writer Jack London captured its cold terror well in his short story “To Build A Fire.”
In the tale, a single mistake made by a traveler walking through the frozen Yukon wastes leads to his eventual demise. Sadly, such stories aren’t just relegated to the realm of fiction.
According to People, Idaho resident Eric Rose was attempting to drive to California on Feb. 7 with his wife Francesca Watson and 1-year-old daughter. During the trip, the roads turned progressively more treacherous.
WKRC/KBOI reported that they attempted to take a shortcut through Silver City, Idaho, but that shortcut turned into a long-running nightmare when their truck got stuck in the snow.
One day rolled into the next and then into the next. The couple built fires to keep from freezing, and Francesca wrapped their infant in a sweatshirt.
KTVB stated that they would start the car long enough to melt snow in a bottle and mix formula for the baby. But eventually, Eric had decided that something needed to be done.
“After the fourth day of him being really thirsty and him getting tired of drinking snow and what not, he decided to go for help, see if he could find help or get phone reception,” Francesca said. “I did not accept it. It was just something he had to do.”
Rose’s sister, Sara Ontiveros, agreed, saying she thought that her brother believed he needed to seek out help for his loved ones.
“He did not walk out there for his own benefit,” she said. “He did it because he thought he had to, to save his family.”
Francesca walked with Eric to a nearby cabin, but they discovered it was empty. He said he would try to get up higher in order to find a cell signal and that he would return shortly.
But he never came back. Francesca returned to the cabin with their baby and stayed there for three more days.
Fortunately, a man on a snowmobile discovered the family’s vehicle and located the mother and child in the cabin. However, no one has been able to locate Eric, and authorities believe that he has perished.
His family wrote on Facebook that “an entire community of ranchers and miners and people from the area looked and prayed and hoped for any sign of him. And February 19th the search was suspended, and the official statement is that this has become a recovery operation to resume as weather allows.
“He leaves behind a mother, father three sisters, three children including his baby girl that survived, and the love of his life in his beautiful, brave wife.” As tragic as the story is, his loved ones are trying to turn his loss to good.
They have created the Eric Michael Rose Memorial Emergency Cache Project. It seeks to place emergency supplies in isolated places to save other stranded people.
Our thoughts and prayers go out for Rose’s family during this difficult and uncertain time.
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