Shelby lived in El Paso, Texas for five years before she heard about the Lost Dog Trailhead located near town. She had been an avid hiker and backpacker for many years, and was excited about the unique challenges that Lost Dog had to offer.
“What most people don’t know about this particular trail is that there are no markers or anything…In order to stay on course and prevent getting lost, each person must pay close attention to both the direction they travel in, their compass or a map.
"Seeing as how we live in a world where people cannot possibly seem to go a day without technology, I love that this trail kind of reminds me of a simpler time in life…when it was just us and nature,” she said with a grin. “I had a couple of friends who expressed interest in going with me, but I decided that I wanted to test my wilderness skills solo first.
"I purchased a map of the trailhead, readied a couple bottles of water and drove to the entrance. Things started out great…every few feet I would check my map and my compass to make sure I was going the right way. I managed to be successful at that for about two hours.
"Then I stumbled on a root and flailed my arms about as I tried to regain my balance. And my right hand just so happened to knock into a small beehive I hadn’t noticed,” she admitted, looking embarrassed. “Angry bees swarmed out and surrounded me, and I had to make a run for it.
"It didn’t feel like I had run very far, but I definitely didn’t run in a straight line, and just like that, I had gotten myself a bit lost. I knew that since I had my compass I could find my way again…but then I couldn’t find my compass. With dread I realized it had fallen out of my pocket when I made my escape.
The Lost Dog of El Paso
"I spent the next three hours trying to get my bearings, but I felt hopeless and I think I got even more lost,” Shelby said, shaking her head. “It was another hour after that when I found myself hunched by a tree, crying in despair,” she added, laughing a little. “And that’s when I saw something moving through the trees several feet away.
"Thinking it might have been a human, I followed. When I came upon the figure I almost fainted. It was a dog, a husky, I think, but I could make out the trees and foliage through its body.
"I was scared at first, but the dog turned to look at me, and somehow I knew that no harm would come to me. The dog put its nose in the air as if to beckon me forward, and I found my feet walking almost of their own volition. It felt like I followed that dog for hours, meandering through the trees until I realized it had taken me to the entrance of the trailhead.
"It had rescued me. I had tears in my eyes when I turned to thank the dog, but he had already disappeared. Since that awful day in El Paso, I believe there are good spirits that exist in this world to help whoever needs it.”