Friends John Julian, 38, and William Murkle, 34, had planned for a hiking trip with their children at Idaho’s Lucky Peak State Park, but quickly found more than they bargained for. According to The Idaho Statesman, the two Boise men and their three young children were stranded in Elmore County last Saturday when their SUV struck a snowbank and became disabled. The two families were forced to walk 19 miles before they found a cabin and called for rescue.
“The scariest thing was when we came across fresh wolf tracks,” Murkle told Good Morning America. “And we could tell wolves had been in the area recently.”
The men made the decision to spend the night in SUV, taking turns to reassure the children and tell stories. Julian and Murkle originally planned on a quick sightseeing trip and packed little in the way of food or other supplies. With no cell phone signal, the dads debated between staying with the car or seeking help on foot.
On Sunday morning the group struck out and followed back roads into Prairie. The trek took nine hours before the families found a cabin and a landline within. Despite being weary from the walking, the group says the trip was uneventful and even oddly enjoyable.
“It was just a long journey, but fun and miserable,” Murkle’s 10-year-old daughter Megan told KTVB.
“Fun” may not be how Will Murkle’s wife Chaunte would have described it.
“My heart told me they were okay and we just needed to find them, so I knew they were okay,” she said.
Owyhee County Sheriff’s deputies and other search parties combed through the Lucky Peak-Arrowock Dam area looking for the group after they were reported missing. They were eventually picked up from the cabin and reunited with their families.
The dads say the trip taught them and their children a lesson on being properly prepared.
“I’m going to bring an extra blanket, sleeping bags, food and more water, and pillows, and a tent, and a shovel and sand,” said Megan Murkle.