August 27, 2010

The Rescue Mission

Having my daughter-in-law, Lauren, visiting was an opportunity for a pleasant drive to checkout the dams at Cambren. We have been enjoying such an unusually wet winter and we wanted to see the water levels and show Lauren around. Fortunately, we had morning tea and water with us when we set off.

We had only looked at the first dam when, on our way back to the track, Chris drove over a rather unassuming stick. It made an alarming noise and Chris immediately turned off the vehicle and jumped out. Something bad seemed to have happened!

A quick check under the bonnet revealed quite startling devastation. The apparently unobtrusive “stick” had managed to disconnect the power steering cable, poke a hole in the radiator and shatter the radiator fan! A piece of the fan was lodged in the underside of the bonnet. Ouch! What now?

Fortunately I had pulled on my hiking boots that morning as Lauren was wearing my work boots. So I volunteered to undertake the rescue mission. I set off with a bottle of water. It was about an eight kilometer trek back to the house.

My pace was fast at first and I even jogged a little way in my enthusiasm. I love to hike and the excitement of the rescue made it all the more fun…until I reached the creek. Our usually dry rocky creek bed was now a raging torrent! It looked more like a river!

Scrambling along the edge of the creek searching for a suitable crossing point, I finally found a spot reasonably narrow with a number of large rocks which could be used as stepping stones. I found a branch to help me balance and embarked on the crossing gingerly; balancing carefully on each rock and leaning on the branch once a stable spot could be found to plant it. When I could see I was only a couple of hops away from dry land, I made a dash for it. Oops! I lost my footing.

Plop! Both boots were now submerged in the raging waters. I scooted up the bank. No time to squeeze out socks. I had to resume my mission! At least now I was going to find out what it was like to hike with wet socks and boots. I could hear the water squelching each time I planted my foot but nothing was going to deter me. My grandson was out in the sun with no hat on!

It was a relief to get to the road where I hoped a passing vehicle might speed my return. No such luck. At least I didn’t have to worry about navigating the remaining creek crossings. I just barged straight through!

Head down, bum up I took each squishy step in determination and made it to the car parked in the Shearing Shed in record time. Once in the Navara, I zoomed back down the road crashing through the creek crossings. Lauren and Chris waved from their spot by the creek as I approached. Back at last. It had taken me an hour and a half.

How tough it had been for them waiting. They were enjoying a lovely picnic in the shade by a babbling brook while I slogged down Spring Creek Road in wet boots!

Sigh. At least it was all over now and I could take off my saturated shoes and socks. Or so I thought!

But it wasn’t just a matter of picking them up and taking them home. Chris was quick to shatter my sense of “mission accomplished”. He informed me we had to take the injured vehicle with us too! That meant I had to drive one of them; either the towing vehicle or the vehicle being towed! Both seemed terrifying to me.

I opted to steer the broken Nissan Patrol while Christopher towed. He couldn’t help but grin. He, as usual, was enjoying the challenge.

Lauren and Laird came with me for moral support.

The snatchy strap in place the tow began. I sat on the edge of my seat. The ignition was off, the gears in neutral. All I had to do was steer and break if needed. No problems, except of course there was no power steering and we had to cross 7 or 8 creeks, uphill and down dale. I was terrified I would crash into the back of the Navara.

Poor Laird was subject to some rather inappropriate language lessons from Granny! But the funny thing was – he loved the whole affair. He just watched it all with great interest and grinned at me whenever I looked back to make sure he was okay. He even gave a little chuckle from time to time. Such a boy!

What a relief to pull both vehicles into the driveway next to the house. I was so glad to get out of that car safe home; all rescued.

It was time for a glass of wine by the fire and to put it all behind me; maybe even laugh about it. At least I got my exercise for the day…or maybe it was for a week! But really, it was just the usual challenges of living in the Traprock. Sigh. At least now I know nothing much happens when you hike in wet boots. It was just a little uncomfortable.

But I don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to do that again anytime soon. I hope…

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