Monday, April 11, 2011

find out who your firiends are

I had the dog loaded up and was in the truck leaving the Turkey Pen trail head when I got a text from Dennis that said:

"Where you at?"

Dennis literally lives at the bottom of Turkey Pen Rd. so I figured he was off work and had seen my truck and wanted to either intercept for a ride or drink a beer at his house or the Hub any of which sounded perfect.

"TP Rd. You?" I texted back.

I started driving down the road and encountered Dianne, Dennis's wife, in her car with her dad on the way up the road. Then a series of texts came through my phone from Dennis. The gist of it was that our good friend and WNDC member David Cook had gone down hard on Squirrel and was injured and walking out from near Cantrell with his fiancee' and Queen of Pisgah, Cissy. Dennis was at work selling drugs at the cvs and was somehow in text contact with Cissy at Laurel Gap and was relaying info to Dianne. Dennis texted me because well, I guess he knew there was a good chance I was out there. And I was, Duma and I had just gone for an epic bushwhack traverse of Buck Mountain that literally required an hour of crawling through rhododendron thicket and were done. But you don't leave a friend out there in the mountains. I told Dianne I was turning around and would be joining her and her dad to hike in and try to assist with getting David and Cissy out comfortably. Then in the next instant Yuri, also a friend and David's pmbar partner, appeared running up the road in front of me with his dogs. I stopped him and told him what was going on, as far as I knew. I thought he was just starting a run, not finishing his own adventure and knew he would want to help if possible.

We didn't have much info. It sounded bad and bloody with an emphasis on facial injuries. Of course all we had to go on were a few fractured texts and I knew it would be hard to get real good info until we intersected them. If a man was down me and my dog were going in. So I did a 25 point turn in the middle of Turkey Pen Rd. (I didn't give a shit!) and headed back to go lend a hand to a friend. We knew they were on Squirrel or Mullinax so Dianne and her dad headed down South Mills River while I ran 66 Jumps with Duma to make sure we didn't miss them on their way up, just in case they had covered a lot of ground fast. I quickly realized we had made a mistake not to call to get the gate opened when a phone signal was guaranteed at the trail head as we really didn't know what to expect. Facial injuries can be bad and there is always a lot of blood and having the combination to that gate would have been really nice just in case it was a very bad scene but we pushed on towards Mullinax vowing not to make any more mistakes.

Duma and I were both done. We had already had a tough weekend but this is what friends are for. I was fully expecting to have to hike all the way to Cantrell to retrieve both bikes but Cook and Cissy appeared just before the first gap on Mullinax.

As soon as he saw me and Duma in the lead David smiled his great big huge sincere smile and said "Hey, how's it going?" just like he always does.

I took a good look at him and noted the big laceration through his eyelid and the wrist he was nursing and told him he was okay. He was very hurt, as the stick stuck into his wrist and cut across his eye proved, no question about it, but he was going to be okay and the worst had been avoided. Yuri quickly appeared coming up the trail and we had a full on group hike going on back to the parking lot.

Real friends are good things and I was happy to be in their company on the way back to the parking lot. Both David and Cissy were in shock and we did the best we could to lighten the mood by joking and fooling around like only the wndc can do. David is as tough as they come and handled the walk out very well. In hindsight I should have tried to slow the pace a little more but like David said he just wanted to be out of the woods and in the hospital so it could all be over.

I know that feeling, David. It sucks you went down in a freak accident, but it happens and the best you can do is be prepared and if you are alone make sure someone else knows where you are!

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