In 1993 my daughter Moe was at a gathering on top of Molson Rock, a stunning lookout over Georgian Bay, which is part of Lake Huron. The Rock is a precipice with a stately view of the town of Collingwood and the Blue Mountains in Ontario, Canada.
Marnie had graduated the year before and had returned to Collingwood after taking a summer to travel along with the the Grateful Dead tour, After reuniting with old friends from high school, they decided to meet at a destination they could drive to, then go a short distance to the top of the escarpment bluff.
Marnie had not hiked any part of the escarpment before; she had no idea how high the gradation was. The walk into their gathering place was on level ground. I guess everyone thought everyone else knew the topography. It had rained that day, yet the evening was dry with just a nip of fall in the air. They had a bonfire and sat around enjoying each other's company.
Three of the group were a short distance away having a chat when one of the girls slipped and disappeared down a pathway. As the two remaining girls realized what happened, a horrified scream
filled the air. Marnie rushed over and was told one of the girls had "slid" down the "hill". Because she had no idea the height of the bluff and because she wanted to see if she could reach the girl, she ventured toward the darkness of the pathway leading down, slowly hanging on to small trees and branches.
Before she could grab the next branch or support, the ground gave way and she began to fall through the air – down, down. What seemed to be an eternal free falling, she began to sense the warm presence of her grandfather, Peter Ilic. He had just passed away a few months before. She said it felt like he was holding her up, as she was falling down. One of the young men who had gone down a different path had reached the bottom. He said he heard the branches of the trees breaking as Marnie came crashing through. She landed on a boulder, on her back. He had located the other girl and now was attending to Marnie.
Only by the grace of great providence did they both survive. This was nothing short of a miracle. They
were rushed to Collingwood General where a vigil was held for the girls. They had injuries that were relatively minor considering the distance of the fall. They were released within the week.
Marnie is the most caring individual I've ever met and although she won't admit it, she is a hero for trying to assist. She did not conform to conventional rescue methods. She reacted "at the moment"; her heart reached out to someone not knowing what was ahead.
After recovery she returned to Vancouver, but has since moved back to the charming town of Collingwood. She is raising her son who is now seventeen months. My daughter is one of a kind.
I have hiked to the spot from where Marnie fell. It seemed higher than the CN tower. We are thankful she was spared, as well as the the young woman she tried to save. Merry Christmas from a very grateful mother.