Friday, July 22, 2011

DAY 22

"This it! This work big!" yells Crazy Elk.

"Whistle, cheek flip, click, whistle" came the reply of his Partner in crime.

I look from my lying position at the contraption Crazy Elk and Winter Hawk have put together and shake my head. "What exactly are you going to do with this thing?"

Crazy Elk points to the top of the hill behind our campsite. Winter Hawk laughs madly, eyes wide with excitement. "Click, click, whistle!!" as he makes all kinds of crazy motions too fast to follow with his hands, but I get the gist of it.

"Oh no! You aren't seriously thinking about trying to fly this thing? You just built it last night, and it is nothing but tree branches, some vines, a little rope and animal hide! Have you lost your ever loving minds?!?" I look at them now as they just stare blankly at me. "....Never mind" I say, shaking my head in disbelief.

"Lip pop, whistle, click, click?" Winter Hawk asks.

"No. I am not helping you carry it up the hill. I will have no part in the two of you killing yourselves with this stupid thing"


"Aw man! Don't look at me like that! This isn't going to work. I'm not falling for that look! No! That is my final answer!"

Then another voice chimes in, "You not believe in Crazy Elk. Crazy Elk Air Force man. Crazy Elk know how plane fly. Crazy Elk see plenty of planes"

"Look, none of that means you know how to build one! Or fly one for that matter!"

"Crazy Elk know!" he says, all hurt sounding now. "Crazy Elk watch! Crazy Elk not dumb!"

Winter Hawk claps and whistles wildly as he takes a run around the fire now, arms out like an airplane. Am I the only one here not insane?

.....We pull the makeshift glider/plane to the top of the hill. A steep overhang overlooks the forest beside our camp, and that is where we are headed. When we finally reach the top, Crazy Elk licks his finger and sticks it in the air, closing an eye with a look of concentration.

"Yeah, that is how all the pilots do it" I say sarcastically.

"Crazy Elk know it is" He replies, turning to find the breeze, completely missing the verbal jab I threw his way.

Winter Hawk starts to work tying ropes off to attach the hide to the glider. The more he ties, the more rope he has laying everywhere. "What are you doing?" I ask. "Click, click...long whistle, lip pop" he replies, looking over at me, still tying. "I'm just saying, that is a lot of rope. You going to use all of that?" I ask. He turns now, eyes narrowing as he stares. "...Click..." and he returns to his tying. "Fine, I won't ask anything else about it."

"Big Bear need hold this" says Crazy Elk as he lifts the bottom of the glider. "Why?" I ask. "Crazy Elk need to tie seat on. You hold while Crazy Elk tie." I walk over and hold the glider up and he begins to tie on the seat. I look around a moment, and glance over the side. "You know, that is a mighty steep drop off that ledge. I don't like you guys doing this at all. Someone is going to get seriously hurt."

Now, one thing that must always be kept in mind, especially at higher elevations, is the fact that wind gusts can occur very quickly and much more powerfully than at lower elevations...Much, much more quickly and powerful.

...The sudden gust of wind catches under the bottom of the glider, picking it up off the ground and pulling it toward the drop off. Winter Hawk and Crazy Elk jump back just in time, the seat still only half tied on. I realize the glider is taking off and I let it go of it, not wanting to go over the side with it. I jump away and to the side...Right into the tangle of ropes left by Winter Hawk.

I see the rope trailing behind the glider as it catches the air, then look down, then back at the glider, my mind piecing what is transpiring together. My mind didn't work fast enough. The rope tightens around my ankle as I look down again, then back up at the two responsible for this, their eyes wild with bewilderment, my eyes wide with fear.

As I am snatched upward I have time to hear a long whistle from Winter Hawk and the follow up words of Crazy Elk. "This not end well!!!"

My retort to such statements? "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!"

I didn't actually get snatched straight up, quite the contrary. The glider was still low enough that I was dragged mercilessly across the hilltop before being pulled off the ledge. As the wind grabbed the glider and it lifted upward, I hang upside down, hands full of grass and dirt from where I had clawed desperately to try and stop the inevitable. I hear screaming now, loud and frightening. Screams so horrifying that they would chill a grown man to his bones, then I realize they are coming from me.

I spin around underneath the glider, watching the hillside grow smaller below me as the Wright Brothers Wanna-Be's run down to the camp and into the woods, trying to follow me from the ground...Well, trying to follow the glider, because where it was going, I was going...I thought.

That was when I heard the ripping sound and looked up at the glider and saw the hide slowly tearing open across the frame. I scream louder now. The hide rips up the right side of the wood structure, and that, along with my weight pulling down on it, starts a steady and very fast circling descent into the woods below.

Everything was spinning now, and with my screaming, I sounded like a human siren, or that is what they told me later. Crazy Elk said because they couldn't see past the trees at times, it was the only way they could track me from the forest.

I should have been on the ground!!! That was the only thought running through my head Well, that and realizing I was going to probably die. Not long now, I will be on the ground again! I passed a flying crow so fast, all I heard was a loud "CAW!!" and I saw black feathers floating around behind me. Not sure where the crow went, I am guessing my reentry into the atmosphere may have burned him alive as I jetted by him to my doom.

I hit the canopy top of the forest and it did not take long to find the nearest set of branches to hit, then another, then some more. By this time, the glider has caught up with me in my fall and I get tangled up in the ropes and framework, falling... Yelling... Crying.

Then suddenly, I come to a stop, the framework and ropes now dangling me above the ground about 25 feet. This seems oddly familiar for some reason. I hear the rustling on the forest floor and look to see Crazy Elk and Winter Hawk tearing through the brush. They stop below me, looking up now.

"THAT... WAS... AWESOME!!!" yells Crazy Elk.

"Get me down!" I yell.

"Click, whistle!" says Winter Hawk as he makes a diving move with his hand and laughs excitedly and uncontrollably.

"GET ME DOWN!" I yell.

"Been better if seat fixed. We fix seat next time!" says Crazy Elk to him excitedly.

"GET ME DOWN!!! I yell louder.

"Cheek flip, click, whistle, lip pop, whistle!" Says Winter Hawk, still laughing.

"GET... ME... DOWN... NOW!!!!" I scream.

They look up at me now and i hear Crazy Elk. "I not know. Big bear look angry. Big Bear might kill Crazy Elk and Winter Hawk..." He squints his eyes now, cocking his head to the side as he looks up. "...Big Bear?...You have wet stain on fur?"

All was silent for a few moments as Winter Hawk raises an eyebrow looking at me now.

I start yelling again, and a few choice words later, Winter Hawk climbs the tree and crawls out onto the branch I am hanging from. He pulls his knife, flipping it around like a Ginsu Chef at Benihana's.

"No, NO! Don't cut the...!!!!" I shout.

Too late. I hit a few more branches on the way down and I land with a dull thud on the ground below. Crazy Elk walks over, looks down at me as I lay there, sucking for air. "Hmm. Big Bear Lucky. Branches broke fall good."

I grab for his leg, intent on biting into his Achilles tendon, but he moves... Just as Winter Hawk exits the tree, slipping on the last branch and falling himself...To land directly on top of me.

I groan now and cry a little more, unable to move from the pain as he stands up, dusting himself off with a quick whistle. Crazy Elk looks back. "That close, Winter Hawk. You could have died!" Winter Hawk nods his head quickly in agreement.

... I lay here in the camp now, realizing a full body cast is probably needed, but having to do with what Winter Hawk and Crazy Elk's sticks and bandages could do to hold me in together. Parts of me keep going numb. I don't think that is a good sign. The bright side of all this? I can't feel where they shot me anymore.

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