Tuesday, May 08, 2007

L&C River II


Having posted the article on the Lewis and Clark River last Thursday, I was reminded of two experiences I had that quickened the heart.

My friend who was my guide on this river knew how to get into places that weren’t obvious. There was one place where the only way in was to wear waders and walk along an under-water ledge while holding onto rocks on the cliff beside you. The ledge was deep enough that the water would come up to the top of hip waders nearly pouring over. If you mistakenly extended a leg out into the current your leg would be grabbed and tugged down stream. If you didn’t regain collection of your leg, you would be sucked down stream with it in water that was way too cold and swift to swim. You could only hope to survive the couple mile trip down stream.

Another time I was a couple hundred feet downstream from the dead line at the fish ladder. I was up on a ledge looking for a way to get closer to the water. I took a step on what I thought was solid ground, but ended up being a bunch of leaves being cradled on some old washed roots. I fell fifteen feet to the rocky river below. I just missed landing directly upon a sharp boulder that would have broken my back.

I hit the water and went under. I lost my glasses and my fishing rod. My waders filled with water and I was being dragged into the first chasm. I had little control of the situation and knew my possible fate if it continued. I kicked off my waders and held onto a rock in the middle of the river for a moment. I was able to claw my way over the rock to the upstream side of it. There I was able to lunge to another rock where the current wasn’t quite as swift. Then I got to a tree branch and eventually made it to shore where I realized I no longer had my fishing rod, my waders or my eye glasses. I was wet and cold, but fortunately I didn’t lose my pants with the keys in my pocket. My car was parked near by. I stumbled up the embankment.

I got into the car and began to shake. This had been the closest I had ever come to losing my life in the wilderness.

8 Comments:

Blogger Auntie said...

Sounds like that movie. Did you hear banjos or Ned Beatty squealing like a pig?

5:45 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

I was thinking the same thing Auntie. Anyway, glad you made it out alive, my morning blog reading ritual would not have been the same.

6:29 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

After reading this, I think I'll stick to safer activities like motorcycling.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

I never did like getting into open flowing water for exactly that reason. *shudder* When I was a kid I got cought in an undertow at the beach...scared the living crap out of me.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

This may be a politically incorrect thing to say, but men seem to have more of these "near death" experiences than women. Putting it in a positive light, you're adventurous risk takers. Not so positive - you're all crazy...

10:08 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

That movie did more to ruin the sound of a banjo than any other thing in history.

Thanks, Lori. That's a great compliment.

Yes, Gearhead, save a donor cycle for me.

Trish, one thing about living out here is that never warms up enough to make one want to swim.

Beth, most males don't develop the mindset to understand consequences until they are in their mid 20s. My excues was I was already in a situation I thought I could handle on the ledge, but it worked out. The fall was something I couldn't detect before hand. It looked like solid ground.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

>>>Yes, Gearhead, save a donor cycle for me.<<<

I only have 6 motorcycles.
Hopefully, one will be to your likeing. :-;

10:21 PM  
Blogger Auntie said...

Hahn said what I was going to earlier besides the banjo thing. Thank god you made it out alive to provide our morning smiles with our coffee.

Stay off the donor-cycle without a helmet.

5:17 AM  

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