Facing Death - Ass First....Fri, July 14, 2006 - 8:11 AM
The rock is slightly chalky beneath my bare feet. I have a bomber grip with my left hand but my right one is scrabbling about a little trying to find purchase on the contours of the dirty, dust-slathered, yellow stone.
Flipping my head from left to right causes me to have a brief little slice of sky fill my eyes for a moment. There is a small solitary cloud up there. It’s been hanging out watching the entire time.
My left foot slips…I feel the sickening lurch in my stomach reminding me that gravity is a monster always lurking under the bed of the world…My right hand slaps frantically at the cliff in the nanomoment of supreme fear…
It was my 21st birthday and I was in the middle of the Sawtooth mountains in Idaho.
July 29th 1990 6:05Am Sun Valley, Idaho
Only a few of my senses are awake. My nose draws smooth droughts of mountain air into my lungs, carrying with it the scents of Lovage, Hemlock and Alpine pussy-toes.
My ears were the first to arise a few seconds ago. They were woken up by the lush sounds of a burbling creek mixed with the dulcet tones of languid morning sex…My best friend Kenbrah people.tribe.net/5c6a229a-...3d1b3addcd
and his lady-love ~C~ are a mere few feet from my ears, starting the day out right in their tent.
I lie there for a second, breathing. My tongue, well-used the night before during a drunken acoustic guitar-fest around our campfire, comes awake for a second, tastes itself … and promptly rolls over to go back to bed til I can get to my toothbrush…
As ~C~s noises waft out of the other tent to stroke the cool summer streamside air, my sense of touch does the old rise and shine. I feel a warmth on my leg beneath the synthetic covering of my sleeping bag. There is a slight rustling sound and I feel a pressure on one side of my thigh.
Wetness envelops my morning wood and my eyes spring awake, bringing me to the land of the almost fully conscious. Bright light floods into the tent as bright pleasure drowns my brain. A tongue swirls around the taut head of my cock in a practiced fashion, as two familiar fingers compress my pubic hair in their efforts to grasp the base of my shaft. I feel the amazing sensation as my dick is rubbed along the velvet smoothness of my lover ~K~'s cheek…
“It’s looking like it’s going to be a good birthday”….I think to myself, letting my hand slip down to play in the shower of golden blonde honeyhair spilling from my lap.
“Morning beautiful” I say to ~K~. (She's a Pisces...oh how I just simply LOVE Pisces energy. Getting head from a Pisces is like being in the center of a swirling whirlpool of good vibrations)
“Hmaphmpy Mbmithday” she says around my hardness, looking up at me with blue eyes colored like a bowl of diamond flavored ice-cream with an anime black hole cherry on top.
She giggles and I giggle and boy does getting your cock sucked by a giggling girl just take the fucking cake first thing in the morning.
Well, unfortunately, the loving erotic morning vibe dissipates pretty quickly amidst the trials and tribulations of camping life.
We are in week 7 of a 10 week camping trip to Idaho from our homes in Santa Cruz.
Kenbrah had heard from the ultimate Frisbee grapevine that you could camp for 16 days at a time in superplush campgrounds in SunValley Idaho. We ran the numbers and realized how much we could save on rent AND get to go camping all summer AND have summer jobs. We would only have to move camp 5 times all summer! SAH-WHEET!~
When we arrived in Idaho however we found out that the local government had JUST changed the rules and now you had to move every THREE DAYS…We read this in the paper on the same day we woke up to see some ranger looking at our campsite from the road via binocs.
Major wrench in our monkeyplans. However we were very intrepid, crafty and wily and it did not take us long to find a perfect spot that was only about 1000yrds from the national park headquarters. Totally illegal, but just out of sight. We would watch them pile into rangertrucks in the morning to go spy on all the “official” campsites and then we would pile into our cars to head to work. Our site was 20 feet from a stream we could fish rainbow trout from. It was a little dell peppered with silver aspen and their friends, the birch trees, perfect for our two tents and mtn bikes.
At first it was a very romantic situation. A thrilling place to be in love...Truly "roughing it". Facing challenges together with that plucky vibe which only young love can engender in such a frothy brew....But by the time week 7 rolled around there was some palpable tension going on in the group. Mostly it was intra- rather than inter- couple tension which was good on the one hand but also can be tough in a group of 4.
The sexy sounds of morning love were soon replaced by minor bickering. In almost ritual fashion, we prepared to go on the hike-to-a-lake we had planned as my birthday activity. Bicker over which car to take…Bicker over what we should have for lunch on the picnic…Bicker Bicker Bicker in the way that only 7 weeks in a tent can simmer up into a nice heated brew.
We drive up to the hike…Takes a little under an hour but gets us out in the middle of nowhere. The drive is a tense one…Little conversation passes amongst us. "It's sure not feeling very celebratory at this stage of the game" I’m thinking to myself as I drive the car up through the jagged granite peaks to our destination.
I’m not surprised…My birthday has a tendency to be crappy. It’s been that way most of my life. I always think of it like this: “The rest of my life is an almost constant celebration of amazing adventures so on my special day I have a crappy day to balance that out a little”
(AUTHORS NOTE: There ARE occasionally MAJOR exceptions: vis my birthday cake last year: people.tribe.net/captainer...c464caa5e0 )
The car gets parked and we have a quick pow-wow. The Girls announce that they are going to hike together at a quicker pace since Kenbrah has a sprained ankle..They have decided that they will just meet us up at the lake…or on the hike back if we are slow...they need some "girltime"...
I get a little pissed at this, in spite of my enlightened attitude towards crappy birthdays…I mean COME ON this is supposed to be my BIRTHDAY hike.....but nonetheless we watch in silence as two perfect asses sway off into the trees beneath twin cascades of long blonde hair.
“That sucked” is Kenbrah’s only comment.
A few minutes later we are feeling much better as we walk through the trees. It’s a perfect day, perfect temperature and the forest is spectacular. We are walking up a valley that keeps splitting up into other valleys. The sun is dappling up the floor we are strolling over, pocking the ground of the glade with little bursts of bright green where the photons illuminate a patch of moss here or come to yellow life as they strike a heavy headed wild lily.
We hear the stream before we see it. It comes snaking across the main valley towards the trail like a happy kid who is rushing towards something fun, delicious or a blend of both.
Sunbeams flit in sparkles off its surface like a cloud of tinkerbelles zooming around the streams face.
We amble for a time in the practiced silence of two close pals.
Looking up I notice that the trail is starting to steepen as it approaches a weird geographical feature. There is a large rampart of earth jutting out from off center of the valley. Use your Google Earth View to notice that Captain Erotica and Kenbrah are facing up a valley who’s sides are pretty steep. You can see that the sides climb about 300 feet up to where they apparently flatten out again above. The floor of the valley is several hundred feet wide, slightly concave. Just off-center in the middle of the valley is a face of a cliff. It cuts off about two thirds of the valley with it’s imposing earthen facade. A few scraggletrees and scrubby brushes stick out from it’s earth, but they are far between.
Using your Google Earth you zoom in and adjust the angle so that you are looking over Kenbrah and Captain Erotica’s head’s. You note that this cliff rises up about 250 feet directly in front of them. Across it’s bottom half, the cliff is unbroken. Midway up however there is a second valley carved deeply into the cliff. The second valley goes up the remainder of the cliff, making a large “V” shape notched into the otherwise impervious structure.
Spilling out from the center of this V is a stream that tepidly spills over the side of the cliff to metamorphasize into a little waterfall.
Kenbrah is clearly ready for a break so we make a little chill zone at the bottom of the waterfall where it reconvenes it’s liquid molecules into a flat shallow pool in the shade.
Snacks come out and are happily munched. We celebrate 420 as a post-prandial epicurean enhancement ritual and then sit back to look up at a gigantic big screen TV which is showing the coolest nature video.
Kenbrah says. “Check out the cliff. See where the waterfall used to be bigger? It’s got a watermark.”
“Yeah, prolly cuz it’s summer” I offer idly “It’s dry…”
My words zift themselves off into the heated air created by the angle of the sun. It’s totally cool how we are in the shade but twenty feet in front of us the sun is illuminating our waterfall view like the mightiest Parcan ever aimed at a stage.
(Little do I know at that moment what a scene awaits me in the spotlight in just a few short minutes)
“Hey” Kenbrah says suddenly “Check out that log at the top of the falls” He points and I see the log resolve itself in my eyes. It is parallel to the edge of the opening at the bottom of the “V”, but darkly colored such that it looked like wet earth at first.
“That thing is blocking the stream from being a bigger waterfall” says Kenbrah “I bet if it got moved it would make a KILLER new waterfall spread out on that cliff”
“I bet I can do it” I blurt without thinking, looking over at the trail as it disappears around the right flank of the cliff, continuing on up into the valley above. “ I bet that trail takes me up and around that cliff. I can get down to the falls from above…”
“Totally” says Kenbrah.
“Would you be bummed if I went and did that bro?” I ask Kenbrah in my best It’s-my-birthday-and-you’re-gimped-right-now-and-I-NEED-to-burn-off-some-energy voice...
“Are you kidding dude. It’s your BIRTHDAY man. Go for it. I’ll chill here and get the big show when you move that log."
Kenbrah rocks when it comes to this kind of adventure thinking...
Google Earth"s Overhead View Fast Forward Feature let’s you easily follow my progress. As expected I dash rapidly up the trail, basically running uphill through the woods. You zoom out a little and can see the whole upcoming scene laid out below your eyes. I will run up the main valley til I get to the top of the cliff, then I will have to head to the left, over a slight rise and then down into the secondary valley which houses the stream. You can see where the water abruptly ends in it’s cascade off the edge…There is something else odd that you notice but you elect not to use Google Earth’s Past GodVoice Commentary Feature (only available to GoogleMega Level subscribers) to warn me of what is going to happen because it will make such a better show (not to mention learn me something on my birthday…)
Fast forward: Watch me hit the top. Over the rise. Into the valley. Now I am creekwalking…among my favorite things in the whole of the wide world…Hop Hop Hop from edge BOUND to rock to rock JUMP to rock to dirt BOUNCE to log CAVORT to rock to boulder to bank to log Hop Hop LEAP
Oooooops and a slight SPLASH as my heel catches an edge of the water on a missed jump …
“darn…don’t want to get my boots wet” I think on the fly (literally)
I stop for a moment of reprieve and take off my boots, stuff my keys into the bottom cuz I am wearing flimsy shorts and they were bugging my leg when I jumped. For safety’s sake, I then stuff my socks in after the keys in order to prevent them from falling out. Actually it’s worth noting at this point that the keys were NOT mine but the keys to my ladyloves ~K~'s car, which we were using for both our transportation AND as our non-tent storage space for the summer at our campsite…After the keys are safely stowed with intentionalty, I lace my boots together and hang them over the back of my neck. They now bobble along with me as my feet touch the real Earth with a GLEE born of freedom from bondage and the amazing release that it holds.
Soooooo Here goes Captain Erotica down to the end of the stream. As the gap becomes closer, the walls sharpen, leaning in to look down upon him as he passes. There is no sun in the cleft except for at the end so the goal is illuminated, which always inspires.
100 feet to the end….It’s getting a little more hairy as the valley narrows and the walls grow steeper. There is a lot more moss down in here and the creek rushes around in a much more verdant, lithe manner. No longer able to burble in the same fashion of it’s upstream youth, it gurgles now in that weird old-people way…
50 feet to the end.. moving slower now having to really plot out the path to the end…This rock over THAT one…carefully placing each bare foot…Looking up, I notice that the end does not somehow seem to be The End. IE I can see the stream going over an edge but it does not appear to be THE Edge… As I move onward, the last little stretch gets easier and I can quickly see that there is a waterfall ABOVE the main waterfall that I have been trying to reach.
At the end…I am in shock…The valley has a little bulb on the end of it…Literally a rounded-out circle with VERY steep walls that curve outward slightly as they rise back up to the top of the cliff. Down below, a mere 15 feet away I can see the log where it blocks the top of the falls. There is a shallow pool behind the log. It ripples with the last beams of sun which are angling down from on high.
It’s one of those perfect moments in life when you are confronted with your limitations.
Having come ALL this way I am now faced with the reality that there is NO WAY to complete the mission.
It’s laughing at me in the face…”NAH NAH you CAN”T do it!” mocks the log “OR you COULD move me....but if you DID then you would be STUCK”
And the log, of course, is perfectly correct. For there is a 12 foot drop from where I stand down into the bulbous hollow above the main falls and while I am a good climber and MIGHT be able to climb back up the steep walls of the bulb….They are, back here where I would have to climb out, totally, utterly covered in slick wet moss.
I could easily jump down into the bulb. Piece of cake…But I would be stuck.
My eyes track around the base, looking for how I might be able to get back up if I jump down there. I consider the log …maybe propping it up after I move it, but it looks pretty rotten to be betting on given my normal birthday luck…I look to the sides of the bulb to see if they might be climbed up afterwards. They mock me warmly from their place in the sunshine. The rock looks chalky and while there is a chute sorta chimney on the left side it is WAAAY too steep to consider climbing with no ropes etc. not to mention it goes about 100 feet up.
“SIGH” Man ~~this sucks…typical birthday…
“HEY KENBRAH” I yell at the top of my lungs. “ I don’t know if you can hear me or not but I can’t make it all the way…so I am going to head back…see you soon”
“SECOND SIGH” I look once more for one last chance at seeing a way that I can do it. Nothing changes from before and I am defeated.
I swing my Leo’s mane around in a sharp Aries Rising fashion and in my Aquarius moon way of not paying enough attention to the physical world,,,, I swing far too hard
“HOLY SHIT” I yell, swinging back around just in time to see the boots bloop their way over the first falls and PLOP into the shallow pond on the lower level.
They are propelled across the pool heading, of course, straight for the edge of the big falls.
My entire being can think of only one thing:
1----->>>The ONLY KEYS TO THE CAR ARE IN THOSE BOOTS
I watch in those few moments of doom as the boots lazily make their way across the ten feet of the pool. Somehow, they are not filled with water yet and have some buoyancy, which fucking SUCKS because if they DID sink to the bottom of the shallow pool, I could jump in, find them, throw them down to Kenbrah.. Triumphant.... but stuck in the bulb.
But Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo It’s my BIRTHDAY so the fucking boots go bobbing along happily towards the edge of the waterfall and my utter demise…
Juuuuuuuust as they are about to go over, to tumble in a way the is SURE to jostle the keys loose forever... some random little angelic eddy swirls them to the left and they bump into THE LOG…
“What am I going to do now?” I think to myself about a hundred thousand times in the ensuing few minutes.
"OK" I think "so the boots are saved. Hopefully the sock held the keys in. All I have to do is jump down in the bulb and get the boots."
So there I am again faced with my earlier defeat in that amazing irony of life's cyclic mischievousness…. I look down into the earthen bulb over and over and over..trying to figure out what I should do.
In an ironic twist, I suddenly notice that the drop to the bottom of the bulb is more like 15 feet not 12 feet and that there IS really no great landing place for me that would not likely twist an ankle or perhaps two…GREAT!!! The walls are too slick to climb down and there is REALLY no safe place to jump AND it’s higher than I thought…
NOW I am really starting to get freaked out. What am I going to fucking DO???
I don’t even have a towel which goes against The Hitchhikers Guide (which I have read by that point) and Southpark (which is not invented yet)
OK so I take some deep breaths….
I look over at the left clifface that drops into the bulb. I notice that the area at the bottom of it seems dry and soft and like a nice place to climb down to if I could just make that chute. The chute itself is about 75ft long. A classic chimney. I try to estimate if I can make it or not….Realizing as I do that even IF I try it… I would have to do so BAREFOOT…
Agonizing over what to do I go back and forth between these three things:
1-Jump in the bulb and twist an ankle, be stuck at the top, perhaps with keys, perhaps not
2- Climb down and back up the chute of doom and perhaps fall to my death, perhaps with keys, perhaps not
3- admit defeat and cause huge drama , perhaps resulting with cessation of relationship with a very hot girl that I really loved
After about 10 min I think to myself “FUCK IT” and turn to walk up the stream.
The rock feels slightly chalky beneath my bare feet.
Don’t look down. That’s what they always say. But you can NEVER not look down, at least not just a little, at least not just a little when there is nobody there to SAY “don’t look down!”
My bare feet are thrashed from hiking back up the creek without shoes and THEN having to hike through the pine needle-strewn, rock and stick-covered valley floor up to the even more rocky zone at the top of the cliff.
My ass is rubbed raw from scoootching down to the top of this insane chute. Scoootching down the ever-increasing angle to the top of the chute I heard many voices imploring me not to attempt this climb.
As is always the case, ACTUALLY climbing down something looks WAY steeper then when you look UP at something before going down it...There is a very strong sense of fear up here at the top. My heart is racing, the stakes are high, my life in this moment is faced with a very real potential ending. Bizzarely I feel an almost equal sense of poignancy as I do fear.
I shimmy my way down into the chute. Propping my bare feet against the side of the stone so my back presses into the other side. Immediately I slip a little but I catch myself with extra leg pressure.
It bears mentioning at this juncture of the tale that I am NOT a rock climber... I am a highly intuitive natural climber who can climb things most people would not even consider,,, but I do not practice nor train at the art of rock climbing, nor have I done it more than a few times with ropes etc...
I........ )(.... Don’t
About halfway down my legs are trembling like mad. I have “sewing machine” leg. My feet are very sore AND the chalky rock is making them sort of slippery...
Breathe Breathe Breathe… I keep calming myself with breath… Having just spent 10 weeks studying improvisational acting and dance at UCSC I was well acquainted with breath as throttle for your state of mind…
I think for a moment how lucky I am to be alive. What a great life I have had. How amazing my lover is and how I should be working even harder to reduce the bickerfactor. I resolve to give more thanks for even having such a beautiful lover as ~K~.
Wild what having your ass hanging out 50 feet above a bunch of rocks can do for one’s perspective on life.
In fact I realize in that moment that I want to be a theater arts major. Something I had not known until that moment but is now clear as a bell…Trippy when those realizations make themselves apparent.
With new resolve I continue down the cliff. I get my second wind and chimney my way down to the last 15 feet. Then it gets tricky as I have to move from the chute climb to the cliff itself and then the last short steep slope down to the pool. I fall the last 3 feet onto the soft place at the bottom and roll, catching myself just before tumbling into the shallow water of the pool.
I look back up at the cliff stretching up 100 ft over my head, glad that all I have to show for my insane descent it is a slightly skinned knee and a scraped up back. The sky stretches out over the top of the cliff, a stark, brilliant blue housing only that one persistent little cloud which has been watching this whole debacle unfold.
The moment of truth has arrived….Have the keys fallen out of the boots into the pool?
I am looking at the boots, which have somehow remained peanutbuttersideup through all of their travails…The fact that there is not a sock floating on the pool surface strikes me as good news.
I approach the log cautiously, not wanting to slip or fall or anything at this point…Looking over the log I see Kenbrah waaaay down 100ft below.
“DUUUUUUUUUUUUDE!” I yell
He looks up
“DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE WHAAAAAT THHHHHHEEEEEE FUUUUUUCK??? He yells back. (Translation: What the fuck? Where have you been all this time? What is going on? I am worried and bored goddammit!!)
“I WILL TELL YOU LATER BRO!!!!” is all I can manage at this point “WAIT A MINUTE”
“OK.” He yells…pause and then “WHATEVER” echos up behind the OK, bumping it in the ass as they both jostle to get in my ear…Kenbrah is not a happy camper...
I pick up the boots and they are SOAKED and super heavy but thank everything that is good that THE SOCK and THUS THE KEYS are still inside.
The best birthday present I ever opened other than the cake you saw earlier in this story was a set of keys, wrapped in a wet boot and a smelly sweat sock.
Oh what RAPTURE to hold them in my hand, down in that little wet mossy bulb waaay out in the middle of Idaho.
I hold the keys up to Kenbrah and yell at the top of my lungs “ I FUCKING FOUND THEM!!!!”
He, of course, has no idea what I mean…
I am so elated that I almost forget the log.
“OK I am coming back down” I yell to Kenbrah “But it’s KNARLY. If I am not back in an hour SEND HELP”
I repeat my request. Kenbrah looks puzzled but yells “OK” anyway
I turn to look back up at the chute above me. My boots are totally soaked and thus will make it harder to climb up with them on than off at this point.
I am not so confidant about making it up to the top. Going down is one thing but up will be a LOT more sketchy and I am already pretty tired at this point not to mention emotionally drained and barefoot.
“HEY WHAT ABOUT THE LOG?” Kenbrah’s words come somersaulting over the edge of the cliff and bitchslap me in the back of the head.
I come to my senses and turn back to the log.
I take a moment to check the little pool up here above the water. It houses no fish or newts that I can see and is relatively devoid of underwaterplant life…It appears during my cursory environmental impact review that there would not be any great loss of life if this pool went back to being a creek for the rest of the summer…Once the rains and then snow come in the fall and winter… the whole bulb will spend some time under water in one state-phase or another.
“Get READY Bro!” I yell down to Kenbrah as I bend to grasp the log…”Pssst” I say to it just before I tumble it over the edge “Thanks a lot…Enjoy the ride!”
I reach up for that last little hold that I need. The one that will let me pull out of this chute. The farthest distance to be fallen is now below me. I am juuuuust about at the top.
I can’t quite see where I am reaching, my hand like a little dirtcrab scuttling around the upper end of the chute, finally grasps onto a root.
I pull on it softly..testing…then a little harder.It holds. I brace my feet and give it a really good TUG and it holds.. It’s a bomber hold, just what I needed.
I relax a little, take a deep breath and pull myself up by this root. It takes an ample helping of my remaining strength to pull up and over the edge.
Right at the moment of perihelion as I start to swing my leg up to get my knee on the top edge of the chute, the root gives way in my hand.
My right arm flails away from the cliff, slipping off the end of the now exposed root. With a LUNGE from my right foot, I do a major bugs bunny move and somehow push against the air with my body and SPRAWL my way forward onto the cliff.
Breath whooshes from my nostrils. I can feel a pebble kissing my cheek with a cool welcome-to-the-top kinda vibe.
I have rarely felt more alive than this moment…
We stand looking up at the new waterfall, Kenbrah and I, just looking at the results of my adventure.
The waterfall now spreads placidly across a wide 20 foot section of the cliff. You can practically SEE the old dried out moss starting to turn green again like in a Disney Movie. It is very beautiful
“Dude” says Kenbrah in that sage-like way that only a fellow Dude can adopt “That was totally insane what you did up there. I’m glad you made it. Nice job on the waterfall kid.”
Little had I known he could see me from below climbing in the chute.
During that extremely hair raising experience I had used all my remaining strength to hold, press, contort, scrape, crawl, grind, cajole, and ooze myself up that rocky chute.
My hands were blistered, my back had a few very deep scrapes on it, all caked over with cliffgrime. My skin was a little burned from the direct sun that had lanced down on my body all the way back up to the top of the cliff.
“Heeeeeeeeeeey Theeeeeeeeeere” Comes a twin chorus of musical voices.
It’s ~C~ and ~K~ back from the lake.
“We Missssssed you!!!!!” comes the harmonic sounds that signal our half day apart was just the needed salve to our tent-fever.
I am in a tent again..only this one ismade of soft blonde hair. It covers me, soothing all my scrapes, calming my heart, slowing my breath down.
“Sooo birthday boy…” Diamond blue ice cream looks deep into my soul “Did you miss me back?”
Why do kisses always taste better after you come face to face with your own mortality?
|add a comment|
Rarely do I or would I read such a long posting, but boyhowdy am I glad I read this one. I'm always impressed with your storytelling anyway. Nauturally, since we're both Men of Theater, as well as Leo Brothers.
Thank you so much for putting all this down. With so many character consistencies here this absolutely must be a story about you, by you. Such as:
The eagerness for enhancing the beauty of the place and the personal satisfaction & glory of being the hero who dunnit by tossing the log.
The creekwalking is oh so catlike.
The prideful toss of the mane that sent the boots flying, and the willingness to accept the risk of retrieval in order to recover your dignity, and not face the dramatrauma of returning wihout the keys.
It's all so Leonine I can't stand it.
Then of course there's the opener...how can you not love waking up to THAT on your bday...which is coming up, as is mine (8/3). When DOES the Captain eat his cake, anyway?
glad you liked it drew-- posting such a looooooooooong blog is always risky in this day of quickfix enteratainment...
the waves of blog activity are still unclear to me in their nature... many forces at work that make a post successful or not
increasingly I am just doing it for the sake of the artform of writing which is a greatlove of mine
I came into the world on July 29th 1969 10:30AM NY, NY ~~~~~~~~~~>>>
Happy almost leotime to you too lion brother!
Very well written!I was laughing many times, this gives me such a clear perspective on how you are real, and not just a strutting sexaholic egomaniac, as I first thought. Damn I'm wrong, too often. Ya know, not that there's anything wrong... just occasionally see you as peacock squawking... But you are a great writer, you took me there, wildnerness, hiking, foolishly risking one's life, this makes us blood(letting) brothers, but, Damn, you enjoy that cake, eat it when you can, even a triple-tiered one couldn't have saved your ass there (even were it big enuff for screen antics), but your keen observation skills and rawhide guts pulled it off for you... Bravo! And, yes, I have had a few serious cases of 'sewing machine' legs... Keep puttin letters together in your head, I find it very pleasing, Andy