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[ft-l] The earth shook -- a fanciful trip report
- Subject: [ft-l] The earth shook -- a fanciful trip report
- Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 13:57:02 EST
- Reply-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
DATELINE: Oviedo, FL December 17, 1999
As scientists here in Central Florida put their heads together in puzzlement
at last evening's magnitude 2.7 earthquake centered in nearby Little Big Econ
State Forest, your intrepid reporter (hereinafter abbreviated YR) rushed to
the scene of "ground zero" of this seismic event and was greeted by a most
I arrived a scant 12 hours after the trembler which occurred at 7:29PM EDT
and witnessed the serene campsite on the bank of the Econlockhatchee River
nestled among several majestic live oaks festooned with spanish moss,
resurrection ferns, red blanket lichen and other of nature's gifts that made
the backpacker's choice of this campsite understandable. My reporter's eye
quickly spotted a clue into the mystery that has the experts questioning the
stability of the tectonic plates beneath this region, previously thought to
be quite stable.
There, tied up between two pine trees, was the remains of a lightweight
nylon hammock which had given up the fight to restrain its occupant from the
eternal enemy, gravity. Having surmised that there may be a link between my
observation and the earthquake of last night, I searched for the occupant of
this campsite. As I scanned to my right, I saw a figure seated on the
horizontal branch of one of the live oaks, eating his breakfast of cheese
grits which was cooked on his Esbit stove.
Dear readers, YR has covered many stories and personalities over the years,
and have always been well served by the simple quest to find the who, what,
where, how and why of each story. Strangely, in this instance, due to the
bizarre and -- shall we say -- rather obtuse nature of the individual I
encountered, I am unable to summarize my findings into a coherent story.
Fortunately, I had my tape recorder with me, and will instead provide a
transcript of my meeting with this colorful backwoodsman (hereinafter
YR: Good morning, sir, I am YR from Internet News Network.
BW: Howdy. Want some grits?
YR: No thank you. I'm here investigating an earthquake, sir. Could you
tell me your name?
BW: I'm Solar Bear. Earthquake, huh?
YR: Solar Bear? Do you have a real name Mr. Bear?
BW: Here in the woods I am Solar Bear, only Solar Bear.
YR: Have you been camped here long?
BW: I strolled in with my pack yesterday afternoon. What's this about an
YR: Didn't you feel it? Scientists say it was centered right here and
occurred last night about seven-thirty.
BW: Jiminy Christmas! That warn't an earthquake! How fer apiece could it
YR: In order to triangulate this position, readings were sampled from three
seismic monitoring stations as far as a hundred miles from here, Mr. Bear.
BW: Well, tarnations! That was just me falling out of me disintegrating
hammock. You gonna share this with the world? I was kinda hoping to keep
this little incident to meself.
YR: With all due respect, sir. The shock was felt by thousands. People
need to know what happened here.
BW: Well, okay, I guess. But only if'n I can splain it like it happened.
YR: I have a tape recorder here, Mr. Bear. I'll see that the story gets
told exactly as you tell it to me.
BW (suspiciously): You ain't carrying a cell phone, are ya?
YR: No sir, in my haste to get here, I forgot it.
BW: A good thing, since I skin cell phone users alive and make Christmas
ornaments out of the pelts. Ya wanna drop by the house to see me tree?
YR (gulp): No thanks. Go ahead and tell me your story.
BW: Well, on these short days of late fall, I carry a hammock to while away
the extra time I'm not hiking. Yesterday, I found this here campsite which I
reckoned to be quite agreeable, seeing as how those two pines over yonder are
spaced jes right fer me hammock and provide a most agreeable view of the
river, though I was a might concerned about injuns and gators -- though them
gators been purty quiet nows I reckon it, since them injuns from up in
Tallahassee put a whoppin' on 'em gators. So I decided to camp right here,
but with a wary eye. After my evenin' vittles of ramen noodles and instant
taters, it was already dark at 6:30. Coulda used some company last night,
too. You like ramen and taters, there, fella?
YR (feeling put on the spot): Yessir, sounds very tasty. Please continue
with your story.
BW: So I decides to set a spell in me hammock. The skies were cloudy, but
the peaceful river calmed me spirit and I dozed most contentedly. At about
seven-twenty-five, I awoke to an urgent need of the bladder which was soon
remedied. After which I stood gazing at the river, noticing too that the sky
had cleared somewhat and a half-moon brightened the campsite. The
temperature, having fallen a bit, sent me in search of my fleece jacket.
After which I reckoned a further spell on the hammock would be mighty nice.
So I laid me down on it and as I was adjusting meself, I heard what sounded
like a rifle shot, and all of a sudden like, I find meself plunging
weightless to the ground fer about a third of a second, but which, my friend,
seemed longer than those damned long-winded stories yer so famous fer.
YR: What went through your mind as you plummeted weightless to the ground?
BW: Well, sir, it's a funny thing you should ask, becuz what went through my
mind then was a playback of all those special, tender moments I've
experienced in my life concerning womenfolk. Seeing as this only took up
about a third of the fall, I replayed 'em twice more, until my arse and head
made a most profound impact with the ground! I reckon it was about seven
thirty, jes as you said. Having a thick skull, it didn't cause much pain in
my head -- though take a look at that crater. But oh, my arse. Wouldja like
to see the bruise?
YR (terrified): No, indeed! So tell me, Mr. Bear, what did you do the
remainder of the evening?
BW: You mean besides rubbin' me arse? Well, sir, things were purty quiet
'ceptin' the noisy squirrels overhead, and perhaps it was the bump on me
noggin' that set me to thinkin' fer the remainder of the night jes what kind
of shenannigans I could share with my online buddies when the trip is
(end of transcript)
YR: Well, there you have it, my esteemed readers, an exact transcript from
one of the strangest people this reporter has ever met.
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