Monday, June 29, 2009

Life is an adventure

What you won’t find sometimes!

So this is my story of how it came to be that in a blizzard I found a dead person.

It was a long haul up a popular mountain in these parts. I won’t say which mountain for reasons you’ll soon understand. One non-caching friend and myself, out to show him the joys of what it is I do. This was early on in Geocaching. I don’t think he ever went with me again. Two or three thousand feet of up with no views. Near the top it opens up, but on this day it opens up to more than just a view. It opened up to the weather. Bitter cold! Blowing wind and snow! A blizzard. There were two caches here. We’d found one. A big jar snuggled in the rocks. The other was in an area that was very exposed to the weather. Between an open rock field and a sheer rock mountain wall. Our noses and hands were freezing! We looked everywhere. Turn rocks here and there, ran back to the trees to warm our hands and bodies, then out amongst the rocks once again. The snow whip along feeling like sandpaper on our faces, but it was not heavy enough to build up much in the exposed rock field. Not having much luck we spied a crevice on the rock wall. Not terribly likely. It was higher than our heads. Maybe 8’ up. We decided to give it a try. I braced against the rock wall as Mark climbed up on my shoulders and used them as you would a ladder. He succeeded in getting a foothold at the crevice, a break in the rock about 6’ long and a bit of a lip to it.
“See anything?” I yelled up.
“No. Wait a minute.. I think I see it. A box. Under some loose rock. It’s wood.”
“Yes! That must be it! Can you reach it?”
“Mmm, just barely. Umf. Ahh. Got it.”
“Awesome! Toss it down!”
“It’s got a funny lid to it. Plastic.”
He tosses it down. It appears to be a hand-crafted square wood box with laminated pieces and rounded well-made corner joints. But it has this funky thin white snap in plastic lid to it. I pull the lid out of its setting.
“What the.. What the heck?”
“What?” Mark says.
“Its someones STASH!”, I say.
I reach in and pull out a hefty clear plastic bag of white powder and show Mark who is still 8’ above.
“That’s not someone’s stash….. That IS SOMEONE!”
I look at it closer. The off-white powder is quite granular.
We look at each other and burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter! In the middle of a blowing snowstorm we had found someone’s cremated remains! We must have looked like fools. Laughing our heads off, holding up a bag of human remains in the middle of a blizzard.

But this is where Geocaching takes you.

Of coarse we returned the poor fellow traveler to his proper place with all due haste and respect, and shortly after found the correct cache. Life is an adventure.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Halfway To Ika

Halfway to Ika

The world spins. A spinning world, within a spinning world, within a greater world yet.
The Sun exerts, the Moon pulls, and thus the ebb and flow of the tides.

It was on this day I chose, during the ebb of the local seas to make my way to Craft Island, and from there, all the way to Ika Island by means of footfall and staff-probing across barren tidal flats and through brackish sub-channels of various depths, temperatures, and dubious character to plant a cache.

It is the sort of travel I enjoy most. Desolate. God-drenched. I would do it all naked if the world included fewer people. Let the sun bake me, the rains wash me clean, the wind dry my hair. Deserts or endless emptied sea, mountainous crags, abysmal canyon. It is my spiritual alchemy; leAd to goLd.

I saw him once before this day. Spoke to him. Said “Hello”. Wide brimmed sun-hat, lawn chair in hand. It was he who led me to the idea. Gave me the thought. Made me see the possibilities. I climbed up Craft Island, he continued on. I sat and watched. He walked till he was no more than a speck. And there, where “Nowhere” IS, he unfolded his lawn chair. And sat. And read. What an incredible idea! I knew I must myself do the same someday soon. I waited. Hours passed. I could see the tide returning from my higher vantage point. When would he stir and rise? Would he realize what he could not see from lower down, and beat the fast advancing tide? It appeared not. It became evident not! Finally he rose, picked up his chair and began the long walk back. The channels widened and deepened. The day as well began to fade. One more channel to Craft Island. But it had become the sea. He carried his chair, with book high above his head, seawater up to his armpits. I left before he reached my island, but I felt certain he was ok and didn’t want to disturb his aloneness. I saw him again, another time, lawn chair in hand, headed half-way to Ika Island.