Thursday, September 6, 2018

Kobae: On the Edge

Wednesday afternoon after the last picture of the previous post Kobae stepped over the ledge, high centered on a round rock, and got rocketed down a very steep slope. There was no picture taking, there was no nothing but try and get in front of him and slow and stop his descent. I hiked over this morning and got some pictures that recreate roughly what happen.

Kobae has all his legs out trying to stop his slide after the round rock that you see in this picture propelled him forward. The slope is steeper than it looks in the picture. He was sliding pretty good.
I get in front of him and get him stopped next to the green bush you see nearly in the center of the picture.
I've got my left hand on him holding him down looking for a place to try and turn him around and get him back up the slope. He steps forward twice and starts sliding down the hill again.
I get in front of him one more time but I can't get any traction. My feet are slipping and Kobae is getting ready to slide down the slickrock. There is a mini wall of rocks 15 feet below us. Maybe that will stop his fall because if it doesn't he and maybe I are going over the cliff and I don't think either of us is going to survive that. I've lost traction and a grip on Kobae. 

We slide down this and my feet hit the rock wall at the same time Kobae does. All but one rock goes over the side but we're both momentarily stopped. I'm mostly laying down but I'm able to get a little bit of angle and push Kobae into this notch.

Kobae starts to back up almost knocking me off the slope. He can't move. Not one inch or we're both going the rest of the way down this and off that.

Kobae starts to move. I slap him in the face with my hand. He pulls all his arms and legs into a defensive position and pulls his head in. I get the walkie off my pocket and call.

On Monday Brandon began working at the lodge. He's looking like he's going to be pretty good. He's out there somewhere working and he has a walkie. Linny was over at Last Hurrah last time I talked to her and she has a walkie. Kristin who use to work here and I haven't seen in a year is here working today as the point person for a wedding next weekend and I gave her a walkie. She's out there somewhere.

"I need everybody at the front gate now. Kobae and I are falling off a cliff and we can't hold on much longer. Everybody to the front gate." Kobae comes out of his shell and starts to move again. I throw the walkie down and slap him in the face again so he'll cover up and not move. It works for a second time. I don't know if it will work again. I hear the walkie "Where are you?" I can't reach the walkie. They get here now or never.

I hear the truck coming. Below me I see Linny, Kristin, and Brandon all bailing out of the truck and heading for the slope. I hear voices "Oh my God, how do we get up that?" The real question is can they climb up this before Kobae and I go down it?
I see Kristin coming up from my left side. Brandon has come around the right side and Linny has abandoned her shoes to get better traction and is somehow coming up below me. I'm exhausted pinning him to the wall but now there are hands coming in from everywhere pushing up against Kobae and I'm able to relax my muscles for just a moment. 
With Kristin having a pretty good position to keep a push on him I'm able to move a little out of the way to get him to turn sideways on the narrow ledge. It's dicey but we can't lift him up that. He starts moving to the right along the ledge. We're all moving all over the place trying to clear a path for him and push and pull whenever we can and over the next 15 minutes, inch by inch, we get him closer to safety until he finally climbs over the top on his own.
We all look around at each other and for the first time there are smiles. That was a moment. We're all physically and emotionally drained. Brandon told me this morning that his adrenalin was pumping until 2am before he finally fell asleep and Linny told me earlier today that it was 4am for her. Was 4am for me also. A noon email from Kristin said "I can’t get over how crazy yesterday was!!   I was so pumped with adrenaline myself that even after that long day I had trouble getting to sleep."

Kobae and I continued our hike and Kristin, Brandon, and Linny worked their way back down the slope and all went back to work at various places spread around the property.

I went out with a head lamp and checked on Kobae down in his hole a couple times. Never woke up once when I hit him with the light. Slept like a baby.

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