Hiking Fail: Wrong turn

This time all the problems occurred before we could even hike. This summer, we went to Hasliberg to hike the second Muggestutz trail at Käiserstatt-Lischen and document it for all of you. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait until next summer, because my son got lost on the mountain and we had to skip the hike. All about that below.

In the meantime, I can recommend the first Muggestutz trail (Mägisalp-Bidmi), which is a fun theme trail for children with a story of dwarves that live there in huts like this:

Back to the story… At Hasliberg Twing, we started by riding up the cable car to the trail head. Then my 13 yr old son saw the Trotti mountain scooters and was determined to ride them. On the last hike we did, he was desperate to ride the scooter, but for various reasons, we couldn’t that day. He begged to skip our hike, do the scooter run by himself, and meet up with us after our hike. I explained the risks of being alone on the trail, but he wasn’t convinced. So he threw a moody teen tantrum for the rest of the day. I promised he could do the scooter another day and here was his chance. I couldn’t say no.

So I rented the scooters and we headed off. My 10yr old son doesn’t love the scooters, is very cautious and goes extremely slow. My 13yr old was frustrated and wanted to go super fast and meet us at the bottom. He’s a responsible kid and has a lot of experience on the mountain and on scooters, so I said yes, figuring if he crashed, we’d catch up soon and I could help. Best laid plans.

He zoomed off while my younger son and I took our time, going slow around the corners, stopping to take pictures, etc. When we neared the drop off at the cable car middle station, there was no sign of my 13 yr old. I asked the lift operator. They hadn’t seen him. He hadn’t turned in his scooter. They called the valley station, no sign of him there either.

I had no idea where to start searching. There was no way I passed him on the trail. The scooter trail signs on the trail were very clear (see below). I thought perhaps he had continued down the mountain, but we called the valley station and he wasn’t there either. There were lots of dirt roads criss-crossing the mountain, leading to other villages, so if he had taken a wrong turn, it was impossible to know where he had gone. Plus he was a moving target.

I awkwardly called a grocery store in the neighboring town, asking if the store owner could kindly look at the bus stop to see if there was kid waiting there with a scooter and to please call me back if she saw anything. She was very kind and helpful but didn’t see anything.

We waited and waited, getting more worried by the minute. After about 20 mins, the lift operator called the SOS team and they drove their truck down the trail looking for him. I was in a panic! I hoped that he was just lost and he would eventually ask someone for help. But I also worried that he had crashed somewhere and couldn’t get to help. So many scenarios in my head!

After another 30 minutes, the SOS team didn’t find him, so they sent me and my younger son down to the valley station to wait for news.

A bit later, a woman called me saying my son was at her house somewhere on the mountain (no address). My son explained that when he reached a village at the bottom of the mountain, he realized he must have taken a wrong turn. So he spent the next hour trying to push his scooter back up and rejoin the trail?!? It was so difficult that eventually he gave up and asked a lady who was out gardening to call his mother. Why he didn’t find a way to call me earlier is a mystery. Children have a different logic and solve problems much differently than adults.

The SOS team found the lady’s house, picked up my son and the scooter and brought him back to us. Hallelujah! After excessive hugs, kisses, and tears of joy, I felt obligated to give a short “I told you so” lecture, calling back to our previous hike, when I had explained the risks of going it alone. This time he agreed. We’ll see if that lesson sticks.

I was prepared to pay a hefty fee for this excellent rescue service, but all they would accept was a handshake.

By that time, all of our nerves were shot and we were in no mood for hiking. So we left the mountain and instead met friends at a lake on the way home for a late afternoon swim and dinner.

Lesson #1: do not separate on the trail!

Lesson #2: train children to wait at every trail juncture before taking a turn!

Lesson #3: make sure your child has your phone number or a phone!

>>> See more Hiking Fails…

If you want to send your kids safely racing down the mountain on mountain scooters, check out my list of mountains with scooter runs.

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