Family aliveI remember seeing this on the news before leaving for work this morning and saying, “That doesn’t look good.” I honestly believed that there wasn’t much hope for the dad and his three kids who went into the woods to cut themselves a Christmas tree on Sunday and still hadn’t been found three days later. Then, the news came in a couple of hours ago that the four were found by a California Highway Patrol helicopter, alive and well:

“The rescue came as relatives and friends were starting to lose hope. One snowstorm had covered the family’s tracks, and an even bigger storm was hours away from burying the four even deeper. …. ‘I said, Son, I would tell you what I bought you for Christmas if I thought we weren’t going to make it,’ Dominguez recalled. ‘My kids were relying on me, and I’m scared, but you can’t tell them you’re scared.’ By the time authorities learned they were missing and began their search Monday night, the first storm had dumped 8 inches of snow around the family’s parked pickup truck, obliterating its tracks. The family went missing about 25 miles northeast of Chico, near the hamlet of Inskip. By Wednesday, the storm had dumped more than a foot of snow in the mountains, leaving wind-driven drifts 7 feet high in some areas.

“They eventually wandered into a culvert that allowed a creek to flow beneath a dirt road, and stayed there until their rescue. It was a miserable place — dark, cramped, wet and cold — but provided just enough shelter. One night it rained, sending snow melt shooting through the tunnel. At one point, Alexis lost a shoe and slept a night with her foot exposed. Dominguez ripped his sweat shirt and tied the shreds around her foot, rubbing it to keep it warm.

“Cloud cover had prevented an aerial search until a brief lifting of the clouds. Flight officer David White said it was the last opportunity for the chopper, and that snow was falling heavily as it descended. ‘With another storm coming in, they were just happy to get out of there and get home,’ he said. ‘It’s probably the best Christmas ever.'”

See the rest of this great story here. Something to be said for plastic trees?