I was stumbling down a slick bottomed stream. Every step seemed to give this way and that. If I grabbed a branch or limb for stability it snapped off in hand. My route was leading to faster, deeper water and I had walked down into a steep sided little ravine. I decided to climb up and out of the creek’s gully via roots, ferns and rocks that might provide stability as I climbed.
When I reached the top, I was aware of several things: the usual, ‘shit you’re out of shape’, I should use a less expensive rod for bushwhacking explorations (I have broken my fair share), and my new route was surrounded by 4′ tall expanses of Devil’s Club and no discernible trail. Turn around and go back? I was leaving where I said I would be. If I fell and broke my leg, I was making it unnecessarily hard to extricate me. So, using sound judgment I ignored my inner, self check voice and pushed on.We all do this, knowing better…getting away with it most often…thank goodness. I have some essentials with me: whistle, compass, space blanket.
I moved through the Devil’s Club and spider webs and into a somewhat flat area. Visible were old, vertical planks that were the last remnants of some structure. The base of the structure could not be seen long since taken over by creeping vegetation. I moved toward it, but could feel the earth slope downward toward the structure, even though the ground cover seemed to extend more horizontally toward the timbers. I knew not to walk forward any further. I set my rod down and grabbed the camera and tried to safely get closer. What was this structure for? There were no roads or hints of a road near this structure. I was some distance from my own rig. I stood and wondered as we all do when we come upon some old homestead, abandoned mill or line cabin and wonder…Who walked there? Who died there? Who worked there? Who walked away from a dream, nightmare? Who looked back one last time?
No answers this day. Only the resolution…geeze man, do something to get into shape.