Depends how you look at it

Silas and I were supposed to meet up with other photography classmates for long exposure photos from Cow Canyon Saddle by Mt. Baldy Village[1. Google Maps link].

That didn’t happen.

Once we got to the turnout on Glendora Ridge Rd, we just saw a sign and a road leading into an RV park. There wasn’t a mention of Cow Canyon Saddle[2. Once we regained a cell signal, we found out that was the entrance. Fail.].

We kept driving down the road for about six miles, then three boys walking down the middle of the road flashed their light frantically and stopped us.

I was a bit cautious. I felt like patting them down to check for weapons, but they looked harmless.

The story — their “friends” split up and left them out there. They were supposedly walking for 2.5 hours without any luck of a car. To make matters worse, there was no cell signal.

From where we picked them up, I drove them back to one of their houses in Ontario. By then, it was already 8:45pm. We could’ve driven back up the mountain, but that would’ve been 14 miles and at least 30 minutes. So, I made the decision to call it a night. (Work in the morning, you know.)

Some might call this a failed outing. I call this a miracle.

If Silas didn’t suggest we keep driving down the road in search for another lookout, we wouldn’t have found these boys. They would’ve had to hike seven miles. It was also 45°F at the time and getting colder.

I don’t want a pat on the back. I want their friends to realize that they’re idiots for ditching them.

And their parents? I have no idea. One of them called once we had a signal again, but it was a short conversation. They were probably unaware.

Freddy, Garrett, and George[3. I think those are their names.] from Montclair High School — if you ever read this story, please be careful, don’t hang out with those guys, and take a survival class. (I know you guys were walking on the road, but you should have stay put.)

Below is the route from the RV park, where we picked up the boys, and finally their home. I took the photo when I dropped them off. Besides Silas, it’s the only proof I have that this happened.

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Community Guardian at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

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