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Rain in the High Desert

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posted on Aug, 13 2017 @ 10:35 PM
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It's a long story, longer than most can probably imagine, but I'll try to keep it short...

It was just a summer job, one my Dad had said I'd probably like (which actually meant I would probably HATE, but HE would love for me to do it). It was my first summer break from college. I could have gone to work for him (our family construction company), but he had other ideas.

"Be here by 7am", they said. No problem. I showed up, but all the other trucks had left but one. I was going to work as a surveyor, for a engineering firm...we would be surveying what would become a legendary pipeline across America, 2nd only to the Alaskan Pipeline. It was called "TrailBlazer", and it ran from the Yukon to Texas. Our job was to survey it across Montana and Wyoming, no easy task.

I was kind of surprised that first morning; all the other survey trucks were gone, save one. In a week I would find out why. Long story short, they said this was the "junior crew" truck...all the others had left hours before. This was the truck they took the "interns" out in. It was the "easy" truck.

Sixty miles from town, hiking 4-5 miles from the truck, we began our day. This was the "puppy" crew. There were two other interns that day. One didn't show up the next day, and the other quit the following day. It was hard work. We walked 12-15 miles per day, through the high altitude desert of Wyoming. I loved it.

Fast forward (after the other kids quit), I asked why we left so late, and they said "Well, if you're good with it, we'll leave with the rest of the crews...be here at 3:30am. We leave at 4am sharp!"

It was still cold at 3:30am, no moisture in the air, and I didn't understand why we were loading up ropes, harnesses and climbing gear. For the past two weeks we'd gone north out of town, but today we were headed south. I think it was 100 miles out of town that first day. We drove to the end of the last road imaginable, if you could even call it a "road". These were serious 4x4 trucks, and we were working them to the limits of their abilities. There was no "recreational" 'four wheelin' going on here, I must have slammed my head off the door post or the window 80 times by the time we finally stopped. There simply was no more road, and the sagebrush was 4', just slamming you around like skittles in a plastic box. It was rugged. So THIS is what the "advanced" teams did, I thought. Truth be known, I was still on a "B" team. The "A" teams went out for weeks...we'd just go out for a couple days.

"Got your lunch???" one crew chief asked me. I said I did, and he just laughed! "Lunch" to him meant 2-3 days worth of food!!

When we finally parked the truck you just wanted to get out. Anything was better than getting slammed around like that for hours on end. YAY...finally! Then it was time to load up our packs. The first day we hiked 6 miles to the starting point, and surveyed (line AND level) for another 6 miles beyond that. The "level loop" crew I was on hiked that 6 miles at least 3 times over, balancing the loop every time. If it didn't balance, you did it again. Each segment was 1,500-2.000 meters. Over and over. It had to "tie" out to 1/100th of a foot.....or you did it again. And again...and again.

The next day the starting point was 12 miles from the truck (where we'd left off the day before). You enjoyed the whole day, and absolutely DREADED the ride back out, getting slammed around in the truck again. The day after that the hike was 18 miles, and took most of the day. We'd survey until it was so dark out, as dark as the "inside of a cow" they'd say. At 24 miles out it was too far to come back to the trucks, so we'd "bivvy". Just a small insulated sleeping bag and a waterproof sack, out under the stars. There were no tents, they were too heavy to carry with all the other stuff we had to haul.

------end PT 1-----




posted on Aug, 13 2017 @ 10:56 PM
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---begin PT 2 ---

I was a pretty hard-core outdoor guy even then, but this was hard-core on a different level for me. On the morning of the second day, I got up, we mad some coffee and had a bite to eat. I figured we'd be heading back, but I was WRONG!! We headed out and went even further south. We where down by the Utah border now. We went to 36 miles from the truck before we turned back. Rappelling down rock cliffs, climbing up vertical sandstone faces...it was brutal...just unimaginably brutal!

We had a thing called the "10 second rule". In the afternoon, when the storms would roll in, if you clocked a lightning strike and less than 10 seconds later you heard thunder, we'd stand down. Take all of our gear and set it on the ground and find some shelter. Lightning in Wyoming is DEADLY. We were so far away from anyone and everything it was just unimaginable. I told this one crew chief..."we could die out here and no one would ever know!" His response was (shrug)..."what a better place to go, right???"

It was about 10:30am that morning when the first storm rolled in. It was an early one. It was hot, and they'd been boiling up before daylight. (FLASH)....(BANG!!) "FOUR SECONDS!!" Four seconds didn't give you much time, you pretty much just dropped everything and ran.

We found a shallow wash to hold up in for a while. "Might as well eat lunch" my crew chief said. "Don't know where the other guys are, but we'll stay here for a moment...so we might as well eat".

I pulled out some food from my pack and made a peanut butter sandwich. It started to rain a little bit. It never rains much, but the rain is definitely cold and it stings on that part of the world.

Crew chief says..."in the next 5 minutes you are going to see one of the most amazing things you've ever seen in your entire life!!" (I'm about halfway freaked out with all the lightning and being out in the open like we were).

"Wait for it!", he says...

About three minutes later he says, "take a BIG, deep, breath!! You'll never smell anything like that anywhere else on Earth in your life!!"

I took a deep breath....and I almost fell over. The smell of the wet high desert, electrified with all the ozone from the lightning was not anything like I'd ever smelled. God existed in that moment. It simply was not like anything else I've ever experienced on planet Earth!

The smell of...Rain in the High Desert.



posted on Aug, 13 2017 @ 11:29 PM
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And then there was the time we were attacked by wild horses...a mustang.

I have so many stories I could tell about that experience, it's just unbelievable.

Stomped the S# out of a Ford Bronco, with us underneath it. Took out $45,000 worth of instruments, just stomped 'em into dust!



posted on Aug, 13 2017 @ 11:46 PM
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We'd seen him earlier in the day...a long, long, way off. We were on their turf and we knew it, but usually they didn't cause any trouble.

We sighted him with the EDM gear in the morning. He was at 4,000 yards. All day, he'd move and quarter, move and quarter...closer every time. It was obvious he was very aggressive, quartering like that. Big black stallion with a white mane and a white boot.

By lunch he was about 400 yards, still running up and quartering. It was clear we were his target, and he was pissed.

So we're sitting there eating lunch in the Bronco and he's at about 250 yards, still proud walking...and then quartering.

Man, this is one MEAN horse!! The nearest mares were 15,000 yards.

In disbelief, we're sitting there when he's at about 190 yards...and his ears go back against his head. (I'm actually watching this in real life!!) "I don't know about you, but I'm thinkin' I don't want to be sitting here inside when he jumps on the hood....you???", he says.

I said..."Okay...what do we do????"

"....under the truck!!!!"

No sooner did he say that than the horse attacked our truck, and he did jump up on the hood, stomped out the windshield, raked the ground all around the truck, stuck his head under the truck, snapping. That was one PISSED OFF HORSE!!!!

We survived, had to call a different truck to come get us, but we made it.

I had horses then. I went to the corrals that night and went to feed my gelding. He wouldn't even come near me. That stallion must have put some kind of pheromones on me, scared my big boy to death!!



posted on Aug, 13 2017 @ 11:52 PM
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Never anything more fearsome than a horse with his/her ears back. Oh my!

Just get the hell out of Dodge whenever you see such!

Turn the horse around...do anything to get away from whatever it is.

When their ears go back....LOOK OUT!!



posted on Aug, 14 2017 @ 12:38 AM
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Sorry...I'm just rambling.

I apologize.

It's just a world, distant and dark, sometimes, which I love.

It's the only thing I know...truly.

ETA:...no one really understands, really. I know. I guess it takes a strange breed to do this.




edit on 8/14/2017 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 14 2017 @ 03:10 AM
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Have you ever thought of writing your memoirs? Not just sit and try to get it all down at once, just take a year [ or 2 ] and write down what you remember when you get the chance. Start at, say 18, and then go to present. You could get all the fear, triumph, sadness and love into the mix, instead of trying to keep it short for here.
You could actually title it "Rain in the High Desert"



posted on Aug, 14 2017 @ 07:26 AM
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This is great ... Back in 1988 I spent two weeks in a remote village in Mexico. My cousins took me out into some remote hills. Three days living off the land by mostly hunting,we would spent the nights in small natural caverns. Nights were cold and rainy at times,but all in all had a great time ...a reply to: Flyingclaydisk




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