INCIDENTS OF My TRAVELS to
NEVER SEEKING ADVENTURE YET ADVENTURE FINDS ME
Not even a day here and I am lost already!
Harry prepared our first dinner of the expedition in that igloo, concocting a simple dish of frank and beans on bread. I don’t know why I was expecting something more elaborate.
We needed to fill a five gallon can with water at a fresh water stream from a run-out to the ocean on the northern end of the beach.
I volunteered to do the run. It was my job after all as the labor to carry around the heavy stuff.
They reminded me to be careful, it was dark out there. I guffawed. Telling them I was used to walking around in the dark. Begrudgingly they agreed.
They were right to be concerned. As I exited the igloo I was lost to total darkness. The only light was the dim projection from the half opened door. Overcast skies covered any moon present and no other light sources but my flashlight was available.
Total darkness! what a strange (lack of) sight. One I have never experienced really. I was so used to the pollution of city lights reflecting on low hanging clouds that I assumed that was to be the case everywhere.
It was completely dark. I could not see beyond that glow of the igloo’s lights, a cocoon of dim luminosity in an ocean of black.
The lack of visual reference only affected my sight. I could still hear the static of the high grass waving in the gentle breeze. The ocean waves lapping the shore to the distance somewhere behind me and the roaring echoes it caused off the mountain side to the north of us. But none of it with associated imaging caused confusion.
I turned on my flashlight somehow thinking this would illuminate much more. It did not. All it produced was a narrow beam to slice through the black but illuminating not much more. A few feet in front of it darkness reclaims its place.
Apprehensive at first, almost returning to the hut, I decided that if I could not do this now I might as well return home because I was sure that the rest of the expedition would be just as trying.
I slowly followed the path to the beach. Consider counting my steps. Rising above the ridge line that separates the shore and the lagoon I am met by a cooler blast of wind from the ocean there. I moved out to the rocky beach, mere steps from the ridge brush. I turn northward in the direction instructed. I take note of the plane to the left of me. Circular light splashing on its side, I do not see it in entirety. Such a marker would be difficult not to find even with my dim light, I think. I proceed north counting my steps.
At about 68 steps and I hear the babbling of the stream. I sweep my flashlight left to right, nothing. I continue 10 more steps and swing the lamp once more and finally a see reflection off of the ground in front of me. I kneel and dip the can in the cold oil looking liquid. I cannot get the full five gallons full into the can because of the shallowness of the stream but this would suffice for a few days.
Five gallons of fresh water weighs 41.7 pounds, each gallon of water approximately 8.34 pounds. Retracing invisible steps back to the plane at the trail head I lug the heft on one arm until it tires when then I would switch to the other after a few moments. I was thinking that I was on a straight path but every time I swung the water the sway would shift my direction. Around step 55 I find myself stepping in the rolling waves of the ocean, about twenty feet from the ridge line. Dang! I stop. Walk back a perpendicular path to the ridge and resume my count southward. Not realizing the unforgivable truth that the hypotenuse of a triangle is longer that the two sides the sway has already misplaced my position and the count was useless. So at the final tallied count of 78 I look toward the ridge expecting to find the plane and find none.
I must have miscounted. I take a few more steps, sweeping the light along the grass looking for the imposing plane. I am only met by the reflective eyes of critters watching me from the brush.
How can I misplace a plane that size. I continue and then find myself at the opposite end of the beach, by the inlet to the lagoon. Too far!
I turn north and continue looking, now to the left for the plane. Still dragging the heavy bucket, if I drop it now I will surely lose my mission’s prize.
I missed it again because once again I am at the babbling stream. Re-counting my steps I try to traverse south once more. But of course I do not and find myself at the other extreme again.
Frustrated, and a bit scared, I keep on going. I must be able to find it at some point. This beach is not that large.
On this last run northward I am met beams of light sweeping the beach in front of me. It is Harry and Jim who became concerned for me. If they have started a search I must have been gone for a while but for me it felt like mere minutes.
Jim carries the bucket that I am now dragging on the ground and Harry leads us back. Hs light lands on the large plane at our trail head (How could I have missed THAT on each pass!) and heads over the ridge to the dim cocoon of light emitted from the igloo.
I have had a hard lesson on my first night already. This was no game. If I was to be of any value to this expedition I will have to adapt to my unexpected environments and quickly. I apologized profusely at my embarrassment. They were forgiving, but I am sure concerned about the choice of me on this trip.
We prepare for bed. I lay there with fatigued arms. Surely this would be the worse of my experience here.
Leave a Reply.
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.