Very early nineteen eighties I was climbing for hours everyday on the rocks alongside the Potomac where Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. all meet. One day my two climbing partners had roped up and started the first climb of the day. I wandered downstream to find a place to boulder and warmup.
I found a spot that looked promising. It was new to me and looked to be a decent workout but doable. About 60 to 70 feet from bottom to top and I started easily enough. Roughly ten feet from the top things got very interesting. between me and the top was a tiny nob I could stand on but I would still be a little over a foot away from what looked to me like the edge and top of the climb. But I had no idea if I could even get a grip.
Talk about a leap of faith! I did make it to the top but I was so exhausted both mentally and physically I I could only lay there along the edge at the top of the warm up climb and catch my breath.
Geronimo is the name of our Golden Retriever mix.
There is also a place in Oklahoma where Army basic trainees do a 150 footrappel that is where Geronimo evaded Union troops six times by riding his horse at full gallop right off the cliff!
We are out there in a line waiting our turn. The line, basically, starts at the bottom of the rappel. So as we shuffle along towards the top I looked at this cliff as a potential recreation climb whenever we might get the weekend off. I eventually get to the top and our screaming Drill Sergeants and attach to the rope. I wave goodbye lean over the edge, give it a little hop and I'm on the rappel 150 feet up.
Going over the edge at the start of a rappel is always thrilling. But I'm checking out if this might be climbable as I go down but I'm going way too slow for my Drill Sergeant. He hollers, "Off my mountain Vail!"
No problem Drill Sergeant. I push off with the intent of getting all the way to the bottom with that one leap. Glad the belay wasn't paying attention. If he thought I was falling freely (which I basically I was) he should pull the ropes tight which would arrest my fall. Also slam me into the cliff. I make it most of the way down, brake and the play in the rope was just enough that I just barely touched the ground with my toes right in front of my astonished belay person before that slack in the rope jerked me back up a few feet.
Hurricane Swell Nagshead, N.C.
2010 I am accepted to a Masters program at East Carolina University. The program is certified by the National Security Agency as a Center of Academic excellence and I did receive my Masters in Management of Computer Networks and another in Information Security - which is notable I guess.More interesting (in my mind) is that first September back in school a hurricane creates great waves off the coast, and I, in my infinite wisdom, take a surfboard to Nags Head. Waves are huge and pounding hard enough I can feel the vibrations in my feet, legs and body on the beach. I am there by myself and on one else is in the water. Despite my trepidation I paddle out.Its a really rough paddle but I manage to make it "outside". I catch a few and the rides are amazing!
Then I make some mistake and fall off the board as the wave is jacking up and I go under and am held down, pinned by the force of all that water to the bottom. My mind starts to panic but then I realize that at least I know which way is up!?! I give it a few more moments to ease up and then swim back to the surface.
I ride one more as a "get back up on the horse' kind of thing before I paddle to shore and out of the water.
Backing up to the mid 1980's a few of us in our unit had graduated Recondo school and our unit thought it might be a good idea for the whole unit to go experience Recondo training for a day.
They teach us a few things and eventually we get to hand to hand. The training area is a large circle. Everyone moves at a double time ina single file line to enter "the pit" and jog counter clockwise until the instructors yell 'halt'.
I had managed to get myself next to a Lieutenant that, lets just say, had gotten on my wrong side and I thought it the perfect opportunity for payback. When we stopped he, very casually, jogged straight across the circle to a spot opposite when he had just previously been. I guess he figured out pretty quickly that those you end up next to become your partner/opponent in the hand to hand training.
But that isn't the main story that I wish to relate here. That story is at the end of that day with our final training. Dinner!
Each pair of us was given either a live chicken or rabbit in a crate. We also each (pair) get a carrot and a handful of uncooked rice. We make our way back to where we (each pair) build a fire to cook our dinner. We were shown how to kill and prep our rabbits and chickens and were admonished to be humane - the least of which was to keep the adrenaline from flowing and creating a bad taste in the meat. Turns out, if you stretch a chicken out on the ground and draw a line with your finger from its beak and away from it the chicken goes into a trance state.
As my partner and I are preparing our dinner we hear a chicken squawking and running around free on the far side our our makeshift encampment for dinner in the woods. We eat our dinner and that chicken is still squawking and running around free.
I stand up and say watch this to my partner. I grab our crate and throw it to land in front of that running chicken. It does indeed land just in front of that chicken whose momentum takes it right into the crate, flips it over and the top closes?!?
One of the GIs that saw this yells, "you couldn't do that again if you tried!"
Dude With An Axe
Washington, D.C Fall 2021