|Me and Jax. One of us needs to lose some weight.That is what the end of December on Vancouver Island looks like.|
I know. It's been almost a year with nothing. I won't go too deeply into it, but retiring, moving from Ontario to B.C.,falling off the diet and a death in the family proved to be a bit too much for me. Stuff like what happened today is invaluable in my recovery, I am pumped as I write this! So, on with the story.
|"The Dingo" at Enos Lake. "Jaxon Bean" is his proper name.|
They say you can't get lost in these woods, but the Pylons didn't have a "Don't follow Digger" rule for nothing. It started as a simple hike with my neighbour Pauline and 3 dogs. At the trailhead, we met up with a nice lady named Natalie and her Portuguese Water Dog, and we headed out together.The trails here are nice, and after an hour or so, we wanted to keep going. So I took the lead and showed them a trail up to Dave's Lookout.
|The View From Dave's Lookout.|
This trail was much harder than I remembered, although I can't say for certain we were actually "on" the trail. After a half hour of slipping down cliffs on wet leaves and rocks (basically un-walkable without grabbing a tree here and there) we were past the point of no return. I know the days are starting to get longer but it was near 3:00pm, and it gets dark here around 4:15. The father of the father/son team is having a really tough time, and I'm getting concerned as he keeps falling and the son or I keep catching him. After one strenuous section, he says"I've got to sit down". And his face is grey and he is hyperventilating. Not Good. Usually when I see people that look like that, they are having a heart attack. I ask the son to sit with him while I go running ahead, trying to figure out where we are, because by now I'm pretty sure we are lost.
And so we are.
|Where's the #@%&^* Trail????|
The dogs are having a great time, running up and back down the trail with me. Eventually, I see what I think is Enos Lake in the distance and sort of get my bearings. So back to the father/son (I'm pleased to see he is on his feet again) and telling them we have to pick up the pace, as it's starting to get dark and I'm having a tough time picking up the trail in the light."What did he say?", asks the dad. "We have to speed up"says the son. This is just as we hit another wet, slippery down slope.
I asked the girls to go ahead without us, so that if we don't get out before dark they could send in a search team, and I'm not kidding. I'm shitting bricks. The father is going really slowly, and I don't want to push him, plus I have no idea where I'm pushing him to. So now it's almost 4:00pm and getting darker by the minute. The land has leveled out and the dad is now making good time.
I spot a trail marker! We start down a trail, and for some reason I decide to yell for the girls.
"Down here" they say. "The trail's down here!" I was about to walk right past them and head out on another wrong turn.
So after meeting up on a very well used trail, I decide it's time I run ahead and see if I can figure out where we are, since I'm the dumb-ass that got us into this. I keep going until I hit a paved road and realize we are, once again, going the wrong way. So I run back and turn them around. DOH. I keep running the other direction until I know the cars are just around the corner.
I am constantly apologizing to the father/son and our new friend Natalie. It's 4:10pm and it will be dark very soon. Making a bit of small talk now that we're safe, I ask the dad if he minds telling me how old he is. "86."he says. His son corrects him, "Dad, you're 88". Pretty amazing.
Natalie heads off with her dog, and the father/son, me and Pauline and the 3 dogs finally walk into the parking lot. "I'm so sorry", I say again."At least we won't be in the newspapers tomorrow."
"That was great", they say, "Thanks for the hike!"
I re-started running a couple of weeks ago, but today was a workout. Lots of adrenaline, and when I got home in complete darkness, clothes drenched in sweat, I realized I felt really good.
|Random Trail Scene|
We went back the next day so I could show Portage and our friend Lynn the scene of the crime. Took a couple of pitchers.
|This is an Arbutus Tree.|
|King of the Rock. That is the trail.|
|We found the Geo-Stash the next day. We signed the book and put it back.|
|An unwelcome guest found in the bathroom.|