Finally after a few minutes, with the pile of ashes at his feet growing to a sizeable hill, his fingers struck the hard, solid wood. He widened the hole so they could see more easily, and he removed one more large chunk. They both gawked at the sight.
He was going to run over to her and throw his arms around her, but he didn't want to forget where the path was, so he took off his shoes and placed them on either side of the path inside the clearing. That way, he'd know where to place his first foot as he made his way back out, if "out" existed.