Wednesday, May 11, 2011
choose your own adventure part 2
Since we had time to do a bit of a hike, we decided to head for this lake with some idea of where it might be.
We left the main road and headed along a fairly decent dirt road into an area that had signs posted everywhere that read "Biosolid Application Area." Hmmm. In my day (haha) we called that sewage, but I guess it's now biosolids. (I was surprised to see this one little trillium along the side of the road in a well trampled area. Must be the biosolids application).
Anywho...pw drove the car as far in as possible. We parked next to a clearcut opposite another vehicle, and decided to hike in from there. We could hear gunfire (oh yeah it was quite the spot). Two other hikers were walking out toward us. pw asked them if they knew the way to the lake, but the first guy was a little uncertain since he hadn't been there in a year or two. The second guy with him pulled out a quite detailed map of the backroads and lakes and we tried to orient ourselves. He thought it would take us about an hour to get there. We were game. He cautioned us that the shooting was just a little ways down on the left.
On we went. pw reassured me, saying that we'd be fine and that if I found the popping sounds of gunfire too much that we could turn back anytime. I said let's just see how it went. It was unnerving. This isn't a designated shooting range, but it seems like a popular area for target practice since there were shell casings everywhere along our route.
We stuck to what seemed like the "main" road. An ATV (or "fatwheeler" as I call them, having got that name from my brother) blew past us. Apparently, this was also a popular ATV area as well. It certainly wasn't a peaceful walk in the woods. I was hopeful though that we'd find our way, and felt better once the gunfire sounds were fading into the distance. The further along we went, the more sideroads we came across. It became clear that it was a tangle of roads.
An ATV blasting some rap circled on a road below us. I was muttering about "ATV morons" disturbing the quiet just before the ATV started heading our way. It was a pretty expensive looking machine. pw flagged the driver, and he stopped next to us. We waited while he shut off the blaring music and removed his helmut. pw asked if he knew where the lake was. He'd heard of it, but wasn't sure. He pulled out his GPS that showed the backroads of the area, and we all peered at it, trying to decipher one road from the next. The driver told us that he was trying to figure out many of the backroads and that it really was a maze out there. He was exploring different roads to see where they led. He talked about the ATV organization that he had joined, and how they were working to get these areas "cleaned up." Apparently they want better care of the area so that garbage dumping would be dealt with. Of course there was also the problem of all the gunfire and the environmental impact of the lead on wildlife. He told us that the ATV group often comes out just to clean up (okay, my preconceived perception of ATV drivers was starting to look like too quick of a judgment).
The conversation eventually turned to who this driver was and to make a long story short. He'd just finished studying Anthropology and was trying to find a way out of his construction job. Based on what he told us, he'll make it. He had a dubious background and saw that he didn't have to choose that lifestyle, and sought after education to find another choice. He was a pretty interesting guy, and our adventure in the woods turned into this very cool encounter with a complete stranger who made me say on our way out, "so much for my theory about morons driving ATVs."
We realized that we could be wandering for a while and may or may not find the lake or the burn area. We headed out the way we came in. It wasn't a complete non-adventure now was it?