Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cheating death at Big South Fork!

The Annual Heiskell boy camp out at Big South Fork is always an interesting event, however the 2006 rendezvous was unforgettable. The usual cast of characters showed up with a few extra invited guests. The core group of myself, Ron, Stacy, Billy, Ray, and Chris were joined on this expedition by a stoner and a hillbilly named Lamance. The core group of campers are a mix of divergent personalities with one commonality, the outdoors. The first night in the wilderness that covers a huge area surrounding the Big South Fork river was the usual, making camp building a fire and drinking ourselves silly. The night went off without major incident except for stacy deciding to get out the chainsaw and putt it to work close to camp. The tree that fell in camp luckily did not hit anyone but the jon boat (which Ron had brought to make a trip downstream) took it on the chin. Needless to say Ron was not happy but stacy promised to fix it upon our returned to civilization. In the morning we split into to two groups for hunting and gathering. One will mainly take shorts trips then move using the trucks on the dirt roads to cover more ground. Ron, Chris, Lamance, and myself decided to follow the drainage off the mountain down to the river which would lead us to a horse trail and back up to the dirt track our truck was parked on. We had hiked most of the day to make it down to the river (we had projected the trip to the river to be only six miles cross-country). We were running out of time and still had miles to go to the horse trail so the decision was made to scale the steep sides of the mountain straight above us to make a b-line back to the truck. There would be two cliffs in the way but I was not worried, I had scaled several rock faces in my day. What I had not considered was I was already exhausted had sixty pounds of gear on my back and a remington 700 adl 30-06 hunting rifle . We had made it to the second cliff, I was following Lamance up the face. he had stopped at a small tree so we could pass the guns and the packs up to the top which Ron and Chris had already ascended to. After Lamance had pulled himself up off the small tree I proceeded to get on it. I think everyone heard the branch break. Just before completing the back breaking fall then probably bouncing and rolling all the way back to the river, I threw my hand out and felt Lamance's hand. Where he found the strength I don't know, but he pulled me up to the next ledge. Granted I was glad to be on top of the mountain and not Laying prone at the bottom, but the hike down the dirt track back to the truck was brutal. the burst of adrenaline from nearly breaking my neck had caused my legs to cramp. Cramp for the entire mile walk back. The apple pie moonshine helped that night in camp but only a little.

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