Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Adventures of "Huckleberry" Citizen

We're sitting in a circle, outside, just the guys. It was Saturday afternoon, part of the Zion National Park "retreat." We're consuming a few beverages, talking about nothing, enjoying the peace of nature. We guys had put in our time watching the kids that morning while the ladies talked, and now it was our turn.

Suddenly, we set out on a hike to find a lake somewhere down a trail out in the wilderness. As we talked, the younger Mr. Citizen became our leader. He led us through a wilderness trail (when the marked path didn't take us to the lake). Eventually we found our way back to the real trail. After what must have been close to a two-mile walk in the middle of absolute nowhere, we came across a lake. There was a wooden dock with an iron scaffolding on the end. Dangling from the end of the scaffolding, out over the lake, was a rope which was obviously designed to let people swing out over the water (or into the water, depending on your inclination).

Whoever used the rope last left it dangling out over the lake, well beyond the reach from the dock. Maybe an accident, or maybe this was someone's way of "winterizing" the dock (it was down in the 40's at night).

Before we had finished assessing the situation, the younger Mr. Citizen was stripped down to his boxers, considering whether a swim would help us fetch that rope. He was knee deep in lake water, trying to figure out how long of a swim it was out to that rope, how likely he was to freeze in the cold mountain water, and if he could even reach high enough to get that rope if he swam out. We discussed the possibilities for ten minutes or so while Doug shivered in that water.

As we were about to abandon the possibility and walk back to our "cabin," we heard a splash. Doug was in the water swimming for the rope. He screamed as his body experienced the arctic chill. But he swam out several hundred feet, jumped high enough to grab the rope, managed to swing it back to us on the dock, and then swim back to the dock before his muscles locked up.

He, along with four others, spent the next half hour swinging over, and sometimes even into, the lake. Myself, and the four others, watched, and laughed, but decided that wasn't our brand of adventure on that day.

All-in-all, it wasn't a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.