I do this once in awhile--go out to the west desert and explore trails and skeet shoot. I usually take my brother with me, but this time he drove. He owns a Ford Explorer and can't get up into the same territory that Clyde can. So, we kind of hung around the foothills and couldn't break trail on some of the snowy paths.
We set up a shooting range on a hill next to a fork in the trail. Just as we were about to start shooting I didn't feel well. I was in agony and tried my best to do some shooting and enjoy the scenery. I ended up having to find a place to go. It helped, but I don't want to have to do that again. So, I came back up to our set up and shot like the devil himself. It was about then that a convoy of some serious dudes in serious rigs came up the trail.
When you get up in these desolate areas it is understood that "fun" can mean illegal activities. When you are out gunned or not interested in facing questionable types, you kind of pull a "What goes on in no man's land stays in no man's land." When I saw these guys bust through these big, virgin drifts, I was a bit interested in where they could be going in such earnest. After I got done shooting for awhile, I told my brother that I was going to hike up the trail to check them out.
I found a couple of great liquor bottles along the way that I would use for target practice. Coming around the bend I could see some massive tailings from abandoned mines and the canyon's opening, a narrow limestone crevice. I thought to myself that this was what they must have been coming up here for because it was hard to get to and secluded. A little further up I could hear their voices, but not what they were saying. They would shoot their guns here and there--nothing that would get your goat up if you are used to this area--it's all pretty common.
It was as I was just around the corner from them that I got hit by an amazing shock wave. My teeth rattled and I could feel my insides react to it. It was loud as hell, whatever it was, and then I couldn't hear much of anything but the ringing in my ears. I've not had a scare like that but a few times in my life. I did an about face and tried to walk out of there as fast as I could. I would have run but it was all snow and mud ruts from them breaking trail.
I know that there are some people who close mine shafts around that area for public safety, so I convinced myself that was what was going on. When I came back to my brother he had a relieved look on his face. He asked me if I heard an explosion and I said, in a shaky tone, "How could I not? I was almost right there." We both decided to head out of there. Man, I was happy to get out of that area.
I contemplated telling the police about it, but I didn't pay enough attention to the vehicles to give helpful details. Also, the nearest police station is about sixty miles away and how to explain where this all was going on, I hadn't a clue because it was the first time I'd been there. Plus, this area is no man's land. Lot's of weird stuff happens and you just let it go--until you find a dead body. Thank goodness that hasn't happened to me, yet. Am I sick in the head that I can't wait to go there again?
4 years ago