Thursday, July 30, 2009

Private study on the wilderness proves that it can kill you.

One day, my friend and I decided that it would be nice to take a hike on a mountain in the wildlife refuge near town. It seems strange to me now that it started that innocently, a little whim no more dangerous than 'hey, let's go for a jog!' or, 'it's so nice out, lets head to the park!'

So we went to the mountains on this whim, choosing the top of "Charon's Gardens" as our destination. Things went perfectly fine.... at first. We went up the side of the mountain in more or less forty five minutes, no problem. We reached the top Charon's Gardens soon enough, and then, we made our error.

"I thought you said there were caves up here?" I asked.

"Yeah, there's supposed to be... maybe they're up there." My friend responded.

"Well let's go up there then!"

I wish I could rewind to that point, right there, when I suggested it. If I could, I would give myself a good old fashioned open-handed Mexican slap across the face, and then tell myself to go home. Just go home!!

But no, we kept on going.... only to find a buffalo blocking our path. The buffalo, none to be trifled with, looked pretty menacing. So we would simply go around the buffalo then climb back down, right? Simple enough....


Two hours, one rattlesnake, and what seemed to be an Indonesian typhoon later, I began cursing the buffalo. It was, after all, the buffalo's fault that we were lost in this god forsaken wilderness, and no fault of my own.

No, it was the buffalo, its black eyes a soulless pit of death, who had blocked our way and made us take this detour of doom. As I picked my way through what seemed like the thousandth thorny bush, I began to think how I might exact my revenge on this buffalo if I ever got out of this mess.

What's worse, I thought, is that at this very moment the buffalo is busy not giving a damn. The buffalo is probably still grazing on that stupid patch of grass that it was grazing on before. Blind to my suffering, unfeeling.

It was when the turkey vultures started flying above us that I was ready to call it quits. They sent a very strong message to me... a message that said,

"Now, there's a great number of woodland animals on this mountain. Yet, you are the best candidates for death. Not the wounded deer, not the old antelope, nor the sickly squirrel, it is you."

It really didn't matter, though, that I was ready to call it quits. Nature didn't care. Matter of fact, nature sent a rattlesnake my way under a rock just to show that it really didn't mind if I made it out alive or just became a delicious turkey vulture snack. It wasn't even rooting for one prospect or the other, that's how nature operates, it doesn't care either way.

I began thinking of stupid things, about how I had the show Burn Notice on TiVo and it would be a shame if I didn't see it tonight because I was lost on a mountain. I began wondering if I really could fashion a lean-to out of twigs and rocks if necessary. I began wondering... if maybe on the top of the mountain I could get some service on my cell phone?

It was a long shot, service obviously doesn't really get to phones in the wilderness. But somehow, some way, it worked on top of that mountain. So we made it back, after all that wandering, and I got to see my Burn Notice episode. I even forgave the buffalo, thinking that though it had sent me spiraling down a mountain packed with rattlesnakes, dead ends, and torrential rain... I at least got a story out of it.


Simon said...

Charon’s Gardens? Charon, as in the ferryman of the souls of the recently deceased? Nice name. Kind of appropriate really.

Anonymous said...

You see, this is what you're learning Juan. Everything is about getting blog material. :)

We don't get "Burn Notice" in Canada (Stupid USA Network!) so I have to view it by uh...acquiring it... through other more devious means. It's all good.

I hear buffalo are pretty ornery? I like them a lot but I'm scared to check them out because they give you "the eye".

glorv1 said...

I love that name, "Charon's Gardens." I think this story proves that we all can learn from our mistakes, if in fact this was a mistake. You found a way to avoid the "eye" of the beautiful buffalo, got around the rattlers, and didn't get eaten by those "turkey vultures." So that is one big story to tell, and I don't think a mistake. You did it! You invited us in to an episode in your life that could have been much worse and I think we blogger's are all thankful that you got out okay because we got to read your story. Bravo! That's one for the buffalo.:D Thank you Juan Pablo, great story of your trek. Take care and have a great Sunday.

Valerie said...

I've only seen buffalo safely from my truck.

and veg assassin- me too, watching it right now actually....

Punch said...

Great story Juan P. keep writing.

Juan Pablo said...

Simon, indeed, it is named after the ferryman of souls!

I seriously respect and fear that dude now... he almost collected my soul as well LOL

Vegetable assassin, there's something very ironic about "smuggling" burn notice, considering all the smugglers they battle LOL and yes buffalo just have that kind of swag!

Cyndi said...

Great Story Juan! I recently had my own wilderness adventure. Saw a buffalo (from the safety of my car), ran into a fox and a BIG turtle. Met Mr. Bunny at the "magic treasure box" and some very big hairy spiders. Details at my blog.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)