Close Calls

/Close Calls

The Hole

I entered a hole yesterday at noon after a mental checklist of precautions. It's a solid rock mountain with no trace of cave-in, no animal tracks to foretell surprise, and no undermining seepage along the inner walls. It's a safe bet for a desert hare or explorer. The 5-foot high shaft is horizontal, flat, sandy [...]

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Flash Flood!

Some people change their ways when they see the light, and those who come to Sand Valley when they feel the heat.  How hot is it today? An hour after sunrise, I open the propane fridge door,  and a four-foot Rosy Boa crawls between my legs and  inside to wait out the day on the [...]

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Gulliver in Baja

It was a cold night in Baja a month ago when I struggled off the trail into a ghost town with an adobe house, and scraped a hole in the leaves for a nest, and thinking twice pushed them into a corner to start a fire. I fell asleep, but the fire did not, with [...]

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Hand from a Boxcar

Labored puffing outside the boxcar’s open door, the rasp of long, rapid footsteps on ballast. A hobo hangs from the door’s latch and can’t pull himself in, can’t let loose or will be minced by the rolling wheels. I reach down my hand and he grasps it firmly. Washington is apple country and in season [...]

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Silverback Gorilla

The 500-pound mountain Silverback Gorilla stands five paces away drumming his chest. The arms can bench press 1000lb. and bend the 2¨ tempered steel bar. Yet the thin Rwandan guide behind me whispers, ´He will charge only if you are afraid.´ The male at 5´ 11¨ is big for the largest gorillas in the world. [...]

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Bear Attack!

My little encounter occurs five years ago at a New Mexico mountain streamside. Hiking along the river, suddenly a black blur bursts out the bushes and I know in an instant it can make two moves for every one of mine, that one throws everything out he has read unless he has mentally or physically [...]

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