INCIDENTS OF My TRAVELS to
NEVER SEEKING ADVENTURE YET ADVENTURE FINDS ME
As work continues we come up against an unexpected predicament...
We continue our work over the remainder of that week as the days merged into a steady cadence of activity. I would get to know and appreciate this man who has at first rubbed me the wrong way. His work ethic was impeccable; as we worked his refusal for short cuts to avoid difficulties was not his habit. So all that was accomplished was done and done well. He did find lazy calculations on the remaining “completed” work from previous expeditions, this would lead to our re-measuring the erred lots and his updating the findings in the logs.
Getting used to his routines I was able to forecast Jim’s requests. As he logged his results for one measurement I would automatically move to the next position with my reflector where he would call me over the two way radio with positioning details.
Soon we were finishing up with our initial work load, preparing to start on the additional lots Harry mentioned.
It was at this time we notice that we have arrived at the date Harry promised to return. A full week has elapsed since his departure.
Ordinarily his tardiness would not be a concern but we were running low on food stock. Mostly this was our fault. We were anticipating Harry’s return with restock that we decided to finish off the existing rations. With the added hiking to and from and weighted runs our caloric intake was increased. We ate well and we ate repeatedly. We were hungry most of the time as our bodies finally acclimated to the added activities of the past week.
So on the eve of Harry’s promised return we had a grand dinner. The last of the stores, notwithstanding a few boxes of powdered potatoes or several tins of Spam we did not spare much for contingencies. His return with the promise of restocked provisions highly expected.
The scheduled day went without event, and no sign of Harry’s return. We worked and dined on Spam and remaining powdered potatoes. Maybe tomorrow he would show. It was possible that the weather to the north of us was too turbulent for flight. Maybe. We would wait a few more days still.
Again we had a Spam dinner. This time it was all that was available. At this point we did have a few cans of Spam left. But the greasy salt lick of mystery meat was starting to turn our stomachs and became unappetizing. We couldn’t stomach it. We did try because it was all that was available. Finally on one day I tell Jim that I have had enough. Looking at the open can he agreed and in response he chucked the last available meal we had into the woods, soon to be picked up by wandering wildlife. Jim states that Harry is sure to return with more food in any case.
Jim’s faith in Harry’s return was absolute at this point. Even at this later time as he was late Jim would reassure:
“Maybe weather. Maybe more work.” There must be a reasonable explanation. He was a patient and trusting but for me the doubt would start niggling its way into my head. I started worrying about abandonment
No food available now we continued working and going to the bag hungry at night. Even filling with water was a brief relief.
It would be yet one more day without evidence of Harry’s return now. Two days without eating now.
Finally! It was on a midday when we notice a faint roar of propeller against the mountain walls. At first we assume it as the echoes of crashing waves along the shore a few miles away. This audio mirage always present out here. But as the din grew louder we realize it to be the unmistakable sound of a single engine plane, it could only be Harry. As the sound fills the valley, undeterminable from what direction as it bounces of northern and southern canyons we instinctively look northward, the only logical direction where a plane can approach us here. At the appearance of the unmistakable white Piper single engine plane Harry does indeed returns from his Delphic meetings in Anchorage! We pause our surveying to meet the welcomed sight, Jim measuring out a length of terrain and I on the opposite hilltop holding the reflector.
“You hear that?” I call on the radio.
“Yeah!” was Jim’s reply. “I say we are done here for today. Let’s go eat.”
Of course he did not have to finish that statement because I dropped everything on the spot and went on to meet him at the riverbed to start our long hike back.
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About the Author
I have always ended up in unexpected places. So I present a collection of my tales told over the years. Places that due to circumstances I might never go on my own accord.