Caretaker Report – Week 4 "Lessons Learned"
March 3, 2011 | 1599 Views
We’ve all read or heard those stories about a person who has gone out hiking and suddenly finds themselves lost. Mostly these stories turn out well. A hungry, cold, somewhat embarassed adventurer with a story to tell. Sometimes these stories result in tragedy. We think to ourselves “ well he should have been more prepared” or “how could you possibly get lost there.”
I have a better understanding today as to how a simple walk can turn into a tense situation. The plan was to hike up to the top of the hill directly behind the lodge. Now there is a well worn trail up which we have traversed half a dozen times already but we were looking for a more straightforward way up.
This all has to do with the possibility of running a cable from the satellite dish to the lodge.
Mike had previously made the ascent straight up but we needed a trail more conducive to carrying the said satellite dish and cable.
While the walking is fairly easy at first we are constantly straddling fallen trees which crumble under our weight or duck waddling under them. We push on. The forest floor now becomes swampy with a thick growth of bush. Each step is a gamble of how deep we will sink into the mud. Veering off in a different direction to find a less steep path,we push on.
“Can you hear the generator?” We were supposed to be right behind the lodge and from there you should certainly be able to hear the 20kw generator which sits outside. Yet we couldn’t. We are we? Isn’t the rule that if you get lost stay put. Rescue will be more certain if you don’t continue to wander aimlessly getting yourself further and further away. Not in this case.
The day is overcast. For a brief moment luck shines down on us, literally. A slight break in the clouds and we determine that the sun is behind us. Heading off again we find ourselves stumbling down a hill which I don’t remember ever climbing. We push on.
Water, I see water! Mike’s voice echoes the relief that sweeps through me only to be replaced just as quickly with apprehension, we don’t recognize this shoreline. Are we in the bay to the east of us or possibly the one west. Mike determines it has to be the one to the east and if so there is a marked trail that will lead us back. We head off in different directions, shouting out to each other (me more often) so we don’t wander too far apart. Twenty minutes later I hear “ I see a marker!”
A scape of faded pink tape clings to a branch at eye level, only the knot remaining of a bow tied years ago. We find 4 more, one actually on the ground before the trail goes cold. Around in circles and backtracking, desperately seeking another sign.
Nothing. What else could we do? We push on. “We’ll give this direction an hour before we retrace our steps” is what we both agree to. Paying no heed to the branches of undergrowth which slap our faces or get caught on clothing we set a fast pace. Dark rain laden clouds are anxious to unburden themselves as drops are felt whenever I take a moment to look up from the task at hand. Forty-five minutes past and not one reassuring remnant of faded pink plastic. Rest.
Is that the generator? Do you hear the generator? Can that be the generator?
No lovelier sound have I heard than that far off barely discernible but distinctively the generator . We cock our heads and furrow our brows as one seems to do when straining to hear. Agreeing that it’s coming from “over there”, we push on.
Not expecting it suddenly a bright pink plastic bow is spotted, shining like a beacon! And another and another! Within minutes we walk out of the forest and are home.
How could just a short walk right behind the lodge have turned into a situation that could have lasted much longer than the 3 hours that it did. Oh how easily you can get turned around. It was a valuable lesson learned and a feeling I will remember the next time we venture out.
Till next week.
Heather & Mike