Disaster Trail

““A harrowing survival adventure in which a teen must keep a calm head when disaster strikes. . . . Grant depicts the unfolding sibling relationship and Oliver’s burgeoning self-confidence with tenderness and heart.” —Publishers Weekly



Oliver loves mountain biking on rocky, wooded trails. And he has an unlikely partner—his much older half sister Morgan. One summer evening while out with their dog Digby, Oliver tries to impress Morgan by leading her down a new trail he claims to know. They end up at the bottom of a canyon with no choice but to push their bikes up the steep trail. Then disaster strikes. Morgan slips and badly injures her ankle. With no cell service, it’s up to Oliver to hike out and get help. But daylight is fading fast, and danger waits in the wilderness.


We get to my new trail.
We turn off the logging road
onto the narrow dirt path.

Morgan asks, "So you rode all of it?"

"Yeah!" I say.
"Well, most of it.
It's great!"

She looks at the trail and grins.
"Nice! New territory.
You first, dude!"

I smile back at her.
Then I take off.

Digby cuts in
front of me.
Morgan's right behind us.

Now's my chance to
show off.

The trail passes 
through the pine trees. 
When we start downhill, 
the trees get thinner. 
Then disappear. 

Giant boulders 
surround us. 
I dodge rocks and 
scrubby bushes.

I zip down 
at top speed.
I don't just 
feel the wind.



I started mountain biking after moving to Flagstaff, in northern Arizona, with my friend Rose as my trail partner. One summer afternoon, we took a beautiful wooded trail that led down into a rocky canyon.

I’m still not sure why we kept going down that trail when it was so obviously leading us deeper into the canyon. I think we were hoping we’d find a trail at the bottom of the canyon that we could take to lead us out of there.

There wasn’t one, so we had no choice but to hike up the steep trail of the canyon. That meant pushing our bikes back up the trail. It was hot and exhausting, we didn’t have cell service, and our water bottles were running low. But fortunately, neither of us slipped off the trail and got injured.

As for Oliver’s wildlife encounters, we frequently see elk herds and coyotes when we’re out on the trail. They usually want nothing to do with us!

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