Greetings Bloggers! I am starting a little late tonight. Work was not good. I am responsible for a crew of shippers in a busy factory. Everything was going really smoothly and I had begun to imagine that I would be getting out early. Sadly things suddenly took a turn for the worst. There was a big screw up on one of the loads. An easy night suddenly got very complicated. On the bright side I got some practical advice from Paul Z and I heard an unusual story from Warren.
Paul informed me that the only way to build my own blogging empire would be to attract a large customer base with pornography. He says that 70 percent of the internet is about sex. “The site is more about rock and it’s exploration” I told him. “Well nothing wrong with some creative advertising, mix porn with caves and rock collecting”. “Hmmm, do you think the two are a good match?” “Nah nah, who cares, just give the impression that your site is about porn and from the hits there have to be a few people who will find your stuff interesting. Sex sells brother”.
The story that I heard came from Warren. I recall some time ago he had mentioned a bad experience that he had with quick sand along one of the Maitland River’s tributaries. Fishing alone he had wandered into a patch of ground that looked quite normal and he suddenly found himself thrashing around waist deep in mud. It had taken him three hours to get out and the only reason he managed it was that he had grabbed hold of an overhanging cedar bough. “It saved my life that branch did”.
“Harold, my father in law told me about a horse that got stuck in the sands. They used to use them things to pull logs out of the valley. Anyway it got caught in the mud and somebody got a tractor back there. They wrapped a chain around the thing’s neck and started pulling. Everyone was chest deep in the stuff pushing and carrying on. Suddenly the horse’s head got torn clean off. It’s still back there somewhere.
The Maitland is one of my favorite Ontario Rivers. There is an amazing hiking trail that you can follow from the town of Goderich up to the hamlet of Benmillar. You walk along in a wide valley that cuts down into Ontario’s youngest sedimentary strata. It is one of the few places where the explorer can see the province’s Devonian Age rocks exposed so spectacularly. A chapter in my book “Rockwatching”, (see the advertisement further down on the right) leads the reader on an interpretive walk along the river’s banks. It has a unique limestone terrain known as a “River ledge limestone pavement”.
My regular caving partner and I had travelled up to the Maitland last year to investigate the river’s black holes. They are deep dark pits in the river bed. Some claim that there are tunnels leading from the river bed on to nearby lake Huron. We probed the pits with a small video camera at the end of a 100 foot long cable. I stood knee deep in the middle of the river with a hooded video screen peering at the mirk and jumbled slabs on the bottom of the chasms. My friend manipulated the camera cord. It was hard to understand what I was seeing. The only thing that I could make out was the ferocious attacks by the bass who were defending their river bottom territories. It was mating season I was told and the intrusion of my fish shaped camera was obviously a threat.
Anyway, according to Warren the various tributaries of the Maitland offer some pretty classy fishing holes. There is one especially decent spot up near Clifford and on the day in question he and a mutual associate of ours, “Criss Cross”,(his name)decided to try their luck. Now it appears that poor old Criss Cross was not so savvy a woodsman as Warren and as they split up at around 6 am to get an early start on the “specs” they agreed to meet again at lunch. Warren’s parting words were, “Stay within the river and close to its banks”. This tributary flows along in a valley and there is impenetrable bush and swamp to either side. If you wander too far from the water you are a gonner, “the mud will suck you down”.
An unusual thing about the stream is that it disappears beneath the ground. From a 30 meter wide channel it diminishes to nothing over a distance of 100 metres. It gets narrower and narrower, finally vanishing beneath a pilse of driftwood. This of course was a very exciting revelation to me. Unfortunately it turned out that the river bed is just mud and up ahead the ground is really spongy. “Its like you are walking on a wobbling carpet and there are places where the surface is torn and you can see the water running beneath. Its kind of freaky”.
Lunch time came and went and still no sign of Criss Cross. Warren “shouted and hollered” and finally drove about 50-kilometers back home to fetch his hounds. Missing in that kind of terrain is no laughing matter. Fortunatly Criss Cross had shed his sweater in the back of Warren’s truck and the dogs were able to mark the scent. Warren was now really worried, it had once taken him over an hour to push through 150 meters of bush, something was very wrong.
The dogs will “harp” when they pick up the trail and they seemed to be having no problems there. “One of my hounds had a tendency to start squeeling when she has found what she is looking for”. About seven that evening she started doing just that. Rushing along behind fully expecting to find a hand or hat protruding from the thick black silt Warren said he found a dejected looking Criss Cross, caked from head to toe in coal black mud sitting on a log. He was thankfully alive but most distraught. His clothes were all torn and one shoe was missing, “claimed by the swamp” according to Warren.
“Saw some trails leading off from the river and thought someone was growing weed back there”, said a sorry Criss Cross. “Guess it was a bad idea”. “He never come out with me again”.