Many of us have that dream of living off the grid out in the wilderness, making your way with just the bounties of God and the work of your own two hands. But while it sounds romantic, it isn’t like a story book, and one family discovered that living in the wilderness is a hard life that one had better be prepared for ahead of time. You may have caught the report several months ago that some hikers in the Rocky Mountains had reported finding a family of three lying dead in their camp in a remote area of Gold Creek Campground, east of Gunnison, Colorado. When authorities arrived at the site in July, they found a 14-year-old boy (who authorities are not naming publicly) lying dead yards from a tent. Inside the tent they found the bodies of the boy’s mother, Rebecca Vance, 42, and her sister, Christine Vance, 41. The bodies were in very poor condition from exposure to the elements and in an advanced state of decomposition. They had been dead for several months and likely died during the winter. According to subsequent autopsies, all three died of malnutrition and hypothermia. The deaths were officially determined as accidental, the L.A. Times reported on Sept. 1. Authorities report that all three were emaciated. In fact, the boy was down to about 40 pounds. The average, healthy 14-year-old boy should weigh about 112 pounds. The two women were also extremely underweight and were found wearing several layers of clothing. None had any injuries. The three disappeared into the wilderness last October after telling their family and friends that they intended to live off the grid for a while. And they had not been seen or heard from until the hikers discovered the grisly scene of their demise. From all indications, the plan was not well executed. The three had no outdoors experience at all, first off. But they also did not supply themselves well. It appears that all they brought with them were a few days worth of canned foods, some blankets, and a thin vinyl popup tent. They also picked a spot where their camp could not be seen from access roads. It was back in the woods were few people go, the Colorado Sun reported. Investigators found that the women had brought a few survival guide books with them. Several empty food containers were also discovered, but “almost no actual food was present in the tent or in the vicinity,” the Times added. It turned out that the campers picked a bad winter to serve as their introduction to survivalism. This past winter, the area had received several feet of snow and along with the snow came quite a few days of below zero temperatures, authorities explained. The two women were warned not to carry out their plans. Trevala Jara, a stepsister to the two elder Vance sisters, told them that their plan was a very bad idea. “It’s hard to wrap your head around why they chose to go,” Jara told investigators, the Daily Beast wrote. Jara said that the Vance sisters had become fearful about the state of the world after the pandemic along with all the political unrest. So, they decided to “live off the grid,” Jara said. The stepsister added that she told them they had no clue how to live in the wilderness and tried to persuade them to drop their plans. But it was to no avail. “Why would you want to do this knowing that you would leave me behind?” Jara tearfully said to CBS News. “Why didn’t you listen to me and my husband?” It is sad that these women forced a child to join them in their death march into the wilderness. It is bad enough when adults make such hasty and ill-thought-out decisions. But when they rope children into the debacle, it is even more tragic. Certainly, the Vance family had every right to do as they wished, granted. But this is a cautionary tale that if one intends to do something that is fraught with danger and difficulties, one should prepare thoroughly and train for the undertaking. Sadly, these three wayward Americans found out too late that the power of nature is nothing to be trifled with. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.