Sunday, September 24, 2006

Marion County, May 2006 (Part III)

We’ve misjudged our distances. Badly. Now it’s 7:30 PM and we’ve been out so long the high-tech rechargeable batteries in our GPS machines are dying. Allison starts to feel weak and has to sit down on a rock. She doesn’t think she can continue without food and neither of us has anything left to eat. Worse, we’re at least an hour from the truck. I radio Carl: “Do you have any food?” There’s a pause, the situation being analyzed and understood. “I have some crackers.” “Can you get those to us?” Another pause. A little longer. “Yeah, I think so. Where are you?” I laugh grimly as I tell him.

Ten minutes later Carl has tossed down some crackers which I’ve given to Allison. He’s standing about forty feet above me and has already had to jump some wide chasms to get to us. We walk back and forth along the huge bluff, him above and me below. There is simply no easy way down. We scout out little ledges, possible hand or foot holds. When we’ve come up with the best line we can find, Carl starts to climb down. I quickly realize that he probably should’ve tossed me his backpack before starting. Now I can only hope it doesn’t get snagged on a limb. He has to drop the last seven feet or so, but everything goes well.

After Allison eats the crackers we start the one kilometer walk. One thousand meters goes pretty quick on pavement, but in this terrain we just hope to get out before dark. We know we’re near the truck sometime later when we pass what we thought earlier might have been a meth lab, a beat-up shack with two hoses leading from the rear up into the creek. On the way in we heard someone rummaging around out front, but this time we do not. We’re thankful as encountering drug activity would be a bit of a problem. Nothing is worse than having someone know that you know something they don’t want you to know, especially when that something could put them in prison. We don’t find a meth-maker, but we don’t find my sunglasses either; I’d lost them that morning and thought we might run across them on the way back. Over the weekend I’ll buy a new pair and promptly run them over at 7:30 AM on Monday, a $50.00 error.

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