posted on Nov, 29 2018 @ 08:51 PM
I have been into "orienteering" for a long while. Graduate of NOLS, and instructor. I pride myself in not being able to get lost. I do. I can
always find my way. I can.
One night in SE Asia I took a group of people up onto a mountain (4x4 territory). I shouldn't say "night", because it was "day" when we started.
I was a Camel Trophy Series navigator and pilot at the time. We had won many competitions over in East Malaysia and Borneo.
The afternoon in question we climbed up some steep logging trails and traversed some pretty severe ledges. (We were crazy). Our group was just some
friends, not nearly as hard-core.
Imagine for a moment, a hard-core Land Rover, ropes strung across the bumpers. racks on top, jacks, tires on the hood, bridging planks...the real
deal. Myself and a buddy were going to compete for the Camel Trophy. We had been in it the year before and got hopelessly stuck 150 miles in...not
So people were interested, and we decided to take them out on a relatively "easy" 4x4 tour in the Malaysian hills one afternoon. Several people
wanted to bring their own 4x4's. We were pretty confident, this would be easy.
Atop the mountain in the early afternoon the clouds closed in and it started to rain. In Malaysia "rain" is nothing like most people have ever
seen. Inches of water fell from the sky in minutes, water, flooding water rushed in every direction. Roads that existed were washed out in minutes,
and those which weren't were deeply rutted beyond description...and it kept on raining, just sheets of rain.
We feared we had made a horrible mistake (I did). Left to our own, we probably could have made it out, but it might have taken days. On this night
people were afraid, innocent people who just wanted to have a fun day. Now, things weren't so fun.
Seriously, you've never seen rain like this!! Just absolute sheets of rain coming down. This was tropical rain forest, which typically gets 450"
of rain per year...this rain just didn't let up! We (they) were stuck.
Well, the rain didn't let up, and people were starting to get nervous (especially when we started seeing wild boar in the jungle). It was time to go
down. But, we would have to go down the mountain a different way than we'd come up. And, at the bottom, we would have many hundreds of kilometers
to drive through a jungle we did not know. Just to get back to a road.
This is a true story, folks.
We would have to go down the mountain numerous times, and then come back up again, to show everyone a safe way. I can't even count how many times we
slid off the road and over a cliff, just trying to find a way out. We were LOST in the Malaysian triple canopy jungles of SE Asia.
We lost a Land Rover that night (my buddy's). There wasn't even a person in it, and it wasn't moving, it just slid over a ledge and down an
embankment in the mud. (never did figure out why the "assurance" company never even called us about that one!).
We did get down that mountain that night, but it wasn't pretty, and I banged the crap out of my rig getting down (got in a fair amount of trouble for
that). Fortunately we got everyone else down the mountain without too much damage. It was a fair way out to the road, and then a couple tries to
figure out which way was home, but we eventually did figure it out...
...back into Bangsar Baru, Malaysia (north east of Kuala Lumpur) that night.
Sometimes, you live, and other times you just stay home.
I would likely never do that S# again (just completely CRAZY), but I'm glad I did once. (makes a person ALIVE)