My wife, Lara, and I were hiking the full Appalachian Trail. It was the honeymoon we never got to take a decade and a half ago.
Lara and I grew up in the same small town in Ohio, and we discovered we'd enjoyed hikes around the area when we went to the same university in southwestern Virginia.
We were somewhere in Virginia, revisiting a part we'd checked out when we were younger. We'd decided to stop there before continuing north.
We'd spent the night at a campsite before continuing on. And then we came across a new branch in the trail that wasn't there before.
I probably shouldn't have tried to convince Lara to check it out.
We came across this weird, abandoned town.
I had a bad feeling about that place. The fact that it was abandoned was the first red flag.
The second was that it, and the trail, weren't on the park map. And as far as I knew, it wasn't on the one we used the last time we were in the area ages ago.
We tried to turn back to get to the main trail, but we couldn't.
Not only was the trail gone, but it seemed like there was a force field around the area, keeping us from going back.
And there was no cell phone service there, which meant we couldn't call for help, and we couldn't access the GPS apps.