Snow is spooky stuff. Sure, it looks gorgeous coming down from a cloudy sky, dusting the evergreens with white.
But if you’ve spent any time out in the cold in the dead of winter, you know how it can become fatal in no time flat. Writer Jack London captured its cold terror well in his jarring story “To Build A Fire.”
In the story, a singular mistake made by a traveler walking through the frozen Yukon wastes leads to his eventual demise. Sadly, such stories aren’t just relegated to the realm of fiction.
According to sources, Idaho resident Eric Rose was trying to drive to California on Feb. 7 with his wife Francesca Watson and 1-year-old daughter. During the trip, the roads turned increasingly more treacherous.
WKRC/KBOI reported that they tried to take a shortcut through Silver City, Idaho, but that shortcut turned into a long-running nightmare when their truck became stuck in the snow.
One day turned into the next and then into the next. The pair built fires to keep from freezing, and Francesca wrapped their infant in a sweatshirt.
Local news stated that they would start the car long enough to melt some snow in a bottle and mix a bit of formula for the baby. But eventually, Eric had decided that something needed to be done.
“After the fourth day of him being really thirsty and him getting tired of drinking snow and what not, he decided to go for help, see if he could find help or get phone reception,” Francesca stated. “I did not accept it. It was just something he had to do.”
Rose’s sister, Sara Ontiveros, concurred, saying she thought that her brother believed he needed to seek out help for his loved ones.
“He did not walk out there for his own benefit,” she said. “He did it because he thought he had to, to save his family.”
Francesca strode with Eric to a nearby cabin, but they found it was empty. He said he would try to get up higher in order to find a cell signal and that he would return shortly.
But he never returned. Francesca came back to the cabin with their baby and stayed there for three more days.
Thankfully, a man on a snowmobile discovered the family’s vehicle and located the mother and child in the cabin. However, no one has been able to locate Eric, and authorities believe that he has passed away.
His family sahre on Facebook that “an entire community of ranchers and miners and people from the area looked and prayed and hoped for any sign of him. And February 19th the search was suspended, and the official statement is that this has become a recovery operation to resume as weather allows.
“He leaves behind a mother, father three sisters, three children including his baby girl that survived, and the love of his life in his beautiful, brave wife.” As tragic as the story is, his loved ones are trying to turn his loss to good.
They have created the Eric Michael Rose Memorial Emergency Cache Project. It seeks to place emergency supplies in isolated places to save other stranded people.
Our thoughts and prayers go out for Rose’s family during this difficult and uncertain time.