Thursday, June 3, 2010

Over the mountain, part 7

This is part seven of how I ran away from home at 14, over a mountain. Be sure to read parts 1-6 if you haven't already.

Going down the other side of the mountain consisted of large areas of flat land that steadily went down to other areas of the same. That didn't make it a short walk by any means. Pathways came and went and I couldn't trust their directions. So I did a lot of cross country hiking without paths.

In one clearing I came across an abandoned van. Yes, a motor vehicle. Rust covered it, but it's windows were all intact and darkly tinted. I couldn't help but get a creepy sensation as I walked around it and passed it on by. I didn't want to so much as peek in a window. I didn't have to wonder how it got there for long as I found worn tracks of dirt like random narrow roads. I thought I could follow them, but they often became overgrown with weeds and bushes in places and I had to change course around spots.

I made my way through a strange shaped valley area that caused me to climb up a hill in order to make my way down any further. The hill was steep and I had to lean on the narrow tree trunks that filled the area in order to climb. I still had my stick and suitcase, so my hands were full. I stepped onto the top of that hill area and came face to face with a cow. I couldn't believe it. I stood only five feet away from it. Apparently the side of a mountain makes good natural containment for cows.

It regarded me for only a moment and went back to eating the tall grass it stood in. I carefully walked around it and kept on going. I made my way down another steep hill of narrow trees and found myself in a large clearing. I could see a few more cows standing in a group some distance away. A large cluster of brush oak stood in front of me and in the near center of this clearing, but closer to the trees I just came out of. I casually walked around and saw even more cows. Then I saw the bull.

What's worse, he also saw me. He stamped and snorted and I remembered that I had on a backpack that made me stick out like a neon sign. I backed up past the sight of the brush oak and thought fast. How could I escape a charging bull? He hadn't charged yet, but I needed a chance. The hill I just came down. I could walk up it halfway where the trees were no more than a foot or two apart. In the middle of them I would have fifteen or more trees between me and the bull from any direction.

He hadn't come around yet so I ran into those trees and followed the length of the hill. It brought me around the other side of that brush oak where I might see him again. He was gone. So were the cows. I couldn't see him anywhere, but he had to be on the other side of the brush oak. It's the only thing that made sense. Past where I saw that bull, I saw a wire fence. Even at the closest I could get by staying in the trees, it was a long distance to make. I moved up to the edge of the trees and looked all around. No sight of him. I had to move, I knew I couldn't stay there. I was hungry, thirsty and tired. I couldn't be on the mountain another night. I doubt the bull would have cared for that either.

Slowly I stepped out and I started walking for the fence line. Not too slowly, I didn't want to waste any time. As I felt more confident I quickened my pace. I had a fourth of the distance left when I heard the pounding sound behind me. I only needed one glance and I really shouldn't have taken it. The bull found me and charged. I ran for my life. I didn't look back again, only wanting to get past that fence to safety. I hoped it was safety anyway. Thoughts of the beast tearing right through the fencing to stay after me flashed in my mind. When I reached the fence I slid under it in the dirt like a pro baseball player. I scrambled to my feet, dropping my stick, and kept right on running. I landed on a another path made for some vehicle and followed it around a bend before I finally stopped. The bull had clearly stopped at the fence. I no longer heard it's hooves thundering on the ground for me.

I gasped for breath from my hard run and looked down at the path before me. Lying in the middle of the path, sunning itself, was another rattlesnake. It was much smaller than the first one. It also hadn't noticed me. I shook my head, thoroughly finished with my mountain encounter and just wanted to be anywhere but where I was. I will say I still didn't want to be home. I didn't consider that to be home anymore. I decided I would find roads, and stick to them on my journey instead.

I walked around the snake and continued on my way. Hours later, I found myself walking on a paved road in front of a few houses. I wanted some water so very badly that I marched right up to a door and knocked. The lady who answered was only too glad to give me a glass of water. She asked where I came from and when I told her, she gave me an expression of shock. She offered to make me a sandwich, but I declined. I didn't want to be there for long. She went inside as I finished my water. It wasn't long after I handed her the empty glass that a county Sheriff's car pulled up.

I was taken to a youth detention center in Morgan, Utah; ten miles from where I started. It wasn't against the law to run away from home in Utah, but there were reports about me across the state. My father came and picked me up. We had a long, long talk about why I ran away. He tried to help me, to negotiate things in the house for me. But in the end, I still wound up leaving. Still, this is my story of my mountain journey. You might wonder how I survived it. Was it dumb luck or a guardian angel? I personally believe the latter.

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