Cell Phone Search and Rescue

This past weekend I had a chance to go running by Binghamton University, in their Nature Preserve. I’ve gone before, and have had some really nice trail runs there. Well, this run was no different, for the most part. I didn’t run for long, just over an hour, but I rediscovered a spot I found once on another run there.

It’s a beautiful spot, and it takes a few minutes of uphill running to get there, so I feel like I’ve earned it when I get there. “There” is a solitary bench on the top of a hill overlooking a field and the surrounding hills, with just a house or two nestled unobtrusively among the snow-covered hilltops. It’s dead quiet except for the wind, which was blowing quite hard that day, unobstructed by trees at the top of this fallow field. When I reached it this past weekend, I just sat in the bench for minutes and looked around, forgetting that I was on a run. The lack of footsteps in the snow before mine made me feel even more isolated and at peace.

Not the spot I described, but part of the Binghamton University Nature Preserve. It's just as beautiful, in a different way, in the snow. (Photo: Aclan C. Okur)

After my zen moment, I continued my run and eventually approached the very end, where I got off the trail. As I was running along a road on the last stretch of my run, I noticed a trail-head that I’d never seen before, and decided to investigate. I got on the new trail for a couple of minutes, but it headed up a hill and away from where I wanted to go, so I doubled back. Nearly back at the trail-head, I decided to instead navigate for a few minutes off-trail.

This turned out to be the wrong decision. I realized quickly that with the snow and lack of trail, I was not going to have an easy time of running, so I made my way back toward the road. After a few near falls I finally made it to within jumping distance of the road, when I slipped badly and slid all the way down to the road. I managed to stay upright, and continued to run for a moment when I realized my hand felt oddly light. Looking down, I saw with dismay that the pocket in my running water bottle where I keep my cell phone was was now empty.

I returned to the spot of my bad slip, knowing I had grasped a branch for support, and possibly could have flung the cell phone out while doing so. Not seeing my silver phone in the snow, I backtracked through my entire off road adventure, searching in vain for my phone. I knew the odds of finding it in the snow were low, and the fact that it was on vibrate would make it harder to locate. Nevertheless, I wasn’t giving up hope, and got a friend to call it repeatedly while I repeated my search. Finally, with a huge sense of relief, I heard the faint buzzing at the spot of my bad slip near the road and I quickly located the phone sitting a couple of feet away in the snow. So there was a happy ending. It was a great run, but if it was at the cost of losing my phone, I would probably have remembered it differently.