Because the world needs more overwrought candour.

Monday, September 25, 2006

My near near death experience
So I went hiking on the weekend up in Mt Baw Baw national park with a couple of friends and we bravely forced our way through maybe 12 km of thick scrub before finding an elusive Scouts Hut. It was a fortress - bars on the windows and a cover over the keyhole. To break in, we adopted a two prong attack. Willy removed a corrugated iron section from the back, peeled back the insulation and crawled through the small hole, while Jules unscrewed the entire upstairs shutter and opened the window. Both made it in at the same time and we lounged in front of a fire rather than huddle in our tents. (We were good squatters, tidying up and repairing our break-in sites). The next day dawned rainy before the clouds parted and gave us enough hope to make the trek back to the car. Two hours in, the fickle weather changed again and unseasonal hail turned to unseasonal snow, dumping at least 10 cm in an hour. The joy of unexpected snow soon turned sour, as none of us had waterproof pants or shoes and brushing past snow covered scrub numbed our legs. Two more hours passed and the early stages of hypothermia set in. I found my mind wandering to warm times, an abstract mulling over memories as my dull legs fumbled with the slope ahead. I slipped and slid more than I should have. We lost the trail, once, twice, a third time and I started internally panicking in slow motion. Were we to die here? At 25? What a stupid death - caught out by frozen legs and an unseasonal blizzard. A death as stupid as dying from a toppling vending machine. Ollie said run Doug, warm yourself up, don't give into the cold and I did and fresh life came into my limbs for a while before the light-headed sickness crept back in. Willy had no gloves and the socks he'd made do with weren't the same and Jules was stumbling a little and Ollie was shivering uncontrollably and we'd lost the trail again because nothing looked the same beneath 10 cm of snow and finally, at last, we found a landmark and then another and then we passed a hill and the wind died back from perhaps 80 km an hour to 30 and we knew we'd be alive tomorrow.