Thursday, April 9, 2009
It Pays to Watch Adventure Films
Sorry about the picture disconnect, but I just haven't bothered to illustrate this latest escapade (which is entirely true).
Alternate Title: the Joke's on Me
We've had snow, tons of snow. 12 inches of snow in the woods that by yesterday sank down to 6 inches of slush. So I was wearing knee high rubber boots. This is important, as without the slush, I would not have donned the boots, and without the boots I would not have decided to go wandering about off trail in the valley along the Vivian Creek stream bed. Some of you may already know where this is going by now...
It was a lovely day for a walk, sunny and warm, but after slogging through 12 inches of snow for 5 k the day before, my calves were sore, really sore. I wanted to take a shortcut. I realized that wearing knee high boots gave me a freedom to explore that I don't have wearing other footwear (I'm like a cat, not liking wet feet--see, now I've tied in the illustration!). So I began wandering, in dog-like serpentines through a part of the woods that is always too wet for walking. This was fun, something like puddle-jumping, only soggier and slower, as I stepped into pans of damp hummus. They got wider and darker and all the more enticing when I saw green things growing (swamp marigold, I think). Ankle deep, I stooped to investigate. They were nestled in a thick bed of jet black muck and sphagnum moss (rather pretty and not the least bit smelly). The moss should have been a clue, but by then it was too late. I was already stuck, having sunk in to the top of my boots. My attempts at leaving made things worse (I didn't try hard, I've seen the movies you know).
So I stopped.
See, if I learned anything at all watching those movie heroes caught in quicksand, I knew that whatever you do, you must not struggle. So I didn't.
I carefully tried one more step, and sunk a bit more.
I had visions of awaiting rescue emersed up to my thighs in black sucking muck--not good.
Vaguely I remembered that lying horizontal to distribute your weight is a good idea but not one I entirely trusted. I pried a rotten log from the bog and moved it to convenient position, sort of a security log, something to hang onto in case I started sinking. While having visions of me hanging on one handed, while the rest of me sank up to my eyeballs in muck, I cast myself across the log, and attempted, once again to move a boot. It was like a concrete anchor. I did, however, manage to slide my foot out of the boot. There I was, face first in puddle, in socks. I was pretty glad I managed this much (I was alone) but the idea of walking another kilometre through slush and muck in socks was highly unappealing. So crawled up on the log, turned about, and there I was, kneeling and saying prayers to my sinking boots. And they were brand new boots too, so what I that bought them at Walmart; I payed good money for those boots. I wanted them back.
No amount of yanking at their slick and muddy edges budged them even a little. Back to those visions of walking out in my socks.
Time to stop, and think again. Assess the situation--I did have a dog with me, which meant I also had a dog leash.
Feeling like Indiana Jones, I crawled forward and slipped the leash through the drawstring of the nearest boot, and hauled. With a plurp, it flew free of the sucking muck. The other one, further away involved lying flat and hand crawling over, elbows and hands in the muck. Let's just say that by the time I was done, I resembled tar-baby just a little. But I had two wet (inside and out) black boots to don and black hands that smelled like summer woods in the rain.
The moral of the story, Don't Get Cocky.
Of course, not walking in boggy areas is another one.
On a serious note: yes, the Hollidge Track has real sink holes, and yes, you can get stuck, really stuck.
PS. Yes, I know. This one awards me the Stupid Award. I can't believe I was dum enough to do that, as in, of all people, I should have known better. On the other hand, it took me a very long time to stop laughing.
Image: life drawing, coloured pencil on 5x7 sketchbook.