INCIDENTS OF My TRAVELS to
NEVER SEEKING ADVENTURE YET ADVENTURE FINDS ME
Back to work...
In the time since Harry’s departure we made ourselves at home in two metal igloos located between the shore and lagoon. These oddities located halfway down a well-worn path from the beach to lagoon. One, the brown one, was used to store all our equipment and excess food. It was well guarded against the elements so we couldn’t have chosen better. The weather beaten white one with the peeling green hide was our chosen sleeping room only because the door on that one was latch-able. We slept comfortably at night after a long days’ worth of survey work and the five kilometer hike to and from the work site.
Our daily hike consisted of tracking well-worn paths, created by man or beast, across the north of the lagoon and given the rainy conditions of the previous week we try to bypass now flooded rivulets of incoming water from higher ground. On the other inside of the lagoon was a young forest of spruce trees. Young being a relative term, the deceptively narrow trunks are really about fifty years old. These trees grow at a slow rate. Yet unlike the pine or beech tree that stand bare of leaves and hibernate at this time of year it still has its green needles on its branches. More adept to growing in colder climates it is predominating in our surroundings, and the patch of tall trees was large enough not to try to circumnavigate. This made it all the more difficult and extended our hike longer than expected each way.
Another long plain with tall grass and the path was barely visible waited for us beyond the trees. And crossing a drying riverbed after negotiating a tricky ravine drop culminated in a two hour hike to our destination
So that following week we continue where we left off. The storm left a mess and clean up was necessary before returning to the duty of work. As a result of the deluge our small tent all but lost downstream. All of our abandoned clothes and equipment collected and futilely set to dry. Fifty degree weather and overcast skies did not allow much heat as needed. In retrospect we were truly never dry since that week.
Cleanup and ensuring our equipment was functional took less than a day and at its end we were back at work. We utilized the majority of a day with for work while estimating enough time for the morning and afternoon hike to the shore in the shortening daylight. Knowing that attempts in hiking at night runs out here were too dangerous and we dared not risk it. This meant that with about a five minutes loss per day our production was quickly minimizing as our stay lengthened.
Now a two man crew we picked up the slack for what used to be Harry’s contribution. All of his additional work consisting of verifications for calculations made, set ups for different angle readings, digging of posts when surveys complete cost precious time. Even worse, when we lacked materials needed at the site (materials stored in the brown igloo back at shore camp) work would all but stop as I, the mule, would hike back to retrieve.
During these solo hikes, with all that time to myself, my mind would start to race. Futile attempts to distract myself always ended in overthinking. It was hard to avoid when the only sound that echoes in your ears was the wind swaying tall grass and the crush of earth under your boots. It was a peaceful undulation of sounds that would hypnotize me to a daze. Conversations soon began, voices whispering in your ear and soon yelling for your attention. Loud enough to think someone was standing over my shoulder; I would swing around from time to time to make sure it was not the case.
The occasional wildlife call would break the monotony. On our first hike we encountered a huge wild rabbit we called Jack. He would rush by in the grass and then disappear. We ever really caught a full glimpse of it but this dog sized hare would sometimes break my daze.
But mostly conversations were persistent, some I’ve had recently or some forgotten entirely would replay in my head. I would respond and complete them in the time I hiked.
When the conversations have had enough of me then my mind would start thinking about television shows watched as a child. Star Trek, The Big Valley, M.A.S.H. Entire episodes then would play out in my mind in entirety. I realized the speed of thought as half hour to hour episodes would run its full course in less than 10 minutes in my head. The completion of one would continue to the next and I could “watch” entire seasons in one trek.
In any case, as maddening as the distraction were they made the long walk tolerable.
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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.