ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- A family from Queens found themselves deeper into the woods than they wanted to be while hiking Saturday at Harriman State Park in Sloatsburg.
But it turned out that Carmen, Oscar, and Benicio Perez had nothing to worry about. As they came to a bend in the trail, they encountered a Boy Scout troop from Greenwich, Conn.
The boys shared snacks, water and their map, showing the family how far they had veered off their intended course.
Here's their story, as told by Carmen Perez:
"My husband, son, and I just pulled up to our Queens apartment at 8 p.m. on Saturday evening, four hours later than when we thought we'd arrive home. What we expected would have been an hour, maybe hour-and-a-half hike this weekend took some unfortunate turns.
"We noticed we were no longer seeing that many other hikers. The hike was becoming more difficult. It had been two hours (when we thought we'd finish) and yet we felt more remotely in the forest than we had throughout the whole hike. We knew something had gone wrong. When you're hiking, though, the only way out of the forest is on your feet ... so we had to keep walking.
"It was scary because we had been walking for such a long time. Trying not to panic, we tried our best to focus on the beautiful day: sunny, breezy; we couldn't have picked a better day to get lost in Harriman State Park.
"We turned a corner, and were thrilled to see a couple teenage boys heading our way, then a couple more, then a couple more ... we realized our first stroke of luck had occurred — we'd run into a troop of Boy Scouts.
"Our second stroke of luck was this troop and their families were incredibly friendly, generous, and kind. They added the Perez family to their troop after showing us on a map how far we had strayed from our original plan to walk a small loop. One Scout offered us a granola bar, someone else gave us water. Our distressful moment had turned around and we knew we would find our way out of that forest.
"We are forever indebted to Greenwich's Troop 9. Thank you for letting us use your backpacking skills to get us safely back to our car and then back to our home. If there were a Good Samaritan Merit Badge — you have all earned it! Thank you so very much."
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