Thankfully, most will never know the dread of being stranded on a deserted road in a blinding snowstorm. We will not know of the fear wondering if first responders can navigate their way to rescue you because of the treacherous road conditions.
We’ll never know that feeling of attempting to preserve power within our vehicle while simultaneously attempting to stay warm, turning up the heat for a few precious moments hoping to alleviate the constant chill within the air, as our feet grow numb within our shoes. Moreover, not knowing if we’ll be rescued within hours, or perhaps days, as the cold gray afternoon slowly drifts into our first frigid night stranded alone within our vehicle without food or drink.
That’s the fearful situation that truck driver Peter Douglas faced when he became stranded on snow-covered highway 10, in Canada, just south of Brandon.
The Winnipeg resident was on his way to Brandon from Boissevain on Monday afternoon at around 4 p.m. when his semi got stuck in the Souris Valley during a fierce and unexpected snow and ice storm.
Stranded truck driver thankful for Minto woman (Eileen Eagle Bears) who delivered coffee, food on horseback https://t.co/sPyMuxt3XF— Volunteer to wear a mask (@VolunteerOregon) March 9, 2017
Douglas, an experienced truck driver with many years driving in bad weather, especially during Canadian winters, had been monitoring the weather all morning long, and decided to continue his route to Brandon, believing that the ice and snow storm would arrive later in the evening.
However, he was wrong. Mother Nature decided to arrive hours earlier, just as Douglas approached Souris Valley.
“The Souris Valley was one sheet of ice and I couldn’t pull the whole thing,” Douglas said. “I was trapped.”
Adding; “With all my brakes on, I still started sliding backwards.”
Rather than risk his rig sliding backwards and perhaps toppling over, trucker Douglas decided to park his truck and wait out the treacherous ice storm.
However, as faith would have it, Douglas had parked his truck near one of the highway 10’s cameras that dot along the 85 mile stretch of road that viewers see on their public service TV’s when tuning in.
The image of the stranded truck captured by Manitoba 511 highway cameras had been recording live, and would periodically tune into the image while updating the track of the ice storm.
Douglas noted; “My family, my bosses and it seems everyone on Facebook knew exactly where I was.”
He slept in his truck Monday night. The next morning, he got a pleasant surprise.
“Lo and behold, first thing in the morning, I look out my window and there was a horse and a young lady by the name of Eileen Eagle Bears,” Douglas said. “She brought me coffee.”
It appears that, along with everyone on Facebook knowing where Douglas was, 18 year old Eileen Eagle Bears was also keeping track of Douglas’ plight.
The young cowgirl had been watching the traffic cam along with her mother on the public service channel Monday afternoon and realized that Douglas’ truck was just about 3 miles from her home. She promised herself that if the truck was still there Tuesday morning, she would bring Douglas something warm to drink.
The next morning the truck was still there, so the teen saddled up her horse, Mr. Smudge, brewed a thermos of hot coffee and rode to where he was stranded.
The trip, however, would be hazardous, and the young cowgirl would need to be especially careful maneuvering Mr. Smudge on the slippery road. Any sudden move could result in both horse and rider tumbling hard to the ground.
“There was a lot of ice on the road from the rain that we had got and drifts were bad in a few places,” Eagle Bears told CBC News.
After riding nearly one hour in the sub freezing cold, the young cowgirl finally reached the stranded truck.
“She had to walk that horse half a mile up that hill and half a mile down because it was so icy. Blew me away,” Douglas said. “She said she saw me on the camera. Her and her family was watching.”
Douglas was surprised when Eagle Bears came back a second time with water and a thermos of stew and potatoes.
He eventually got towed and made his way to Brandon after spending 28 hours stranded on highway 10.
He still has her thermoses, but plans to drop them off on his next run down. “He was really happy to know someone came,” Eagle Bears said.