Actually, I was back from vacation a week or two ago. But now my brain is back here in Blogland too - very important if I am going to write.
So, what did you miss? Oh not much, just a funeral where I screeched into a parking place, sprinted across the cemetary and arrived breathlessly - just in time - to sing the opening hymn (Can you say "embarassed"?), followed by a looooong drive to a Navy military training ground deep in the heart of Maine to learn survival skills in a cold, steady rain (fire, anyone?), a looooong drive home for packing/Mother's Day/Silly-Head's preliminary birthday celebration (Look, Presents! and Pictures! and Insanity!) followed by a road trip to Rochester, NY, Silly-Head's next birthday party at the illustrious Chuck E Cheese (Yes, that LOUD, excited screaming that is causing all the patrons to stare would be my daughter; my 26 year-old daughter!), a road trip (Krispy Kreme - Woot!) to Richmond, IN to visit friends (Fun!!!) and buy a fabulous used tandem bicycle (Daisy, Daisy, Give me your answer, do...), a day trip to The Creation Museum just south of Cincinatti (I just KNEW the Garden of Eden was in Kentucky!), a road trip back to NY (more screaming and insanity), a visit to the Lilac Festival (the big butterfly scoop!) and Niagara Falls (Don't forget your cheap tourist sandals!) and a road trip home to Maine (Are we there yet?).
Let's see, then we were home and there were 4,000 urgent emails and a pile of snail mail that went to the ceiling and an ant infestation and a garden that needed planting and a husband who wanted (and still wants) help fundraising for the Trek Across Maine and the American Lung Association. There were families who needed meals and orthodontist appointments and piano practices followed by the big recital and there was, most exciting of all, an actual deployment for Search and Rescue. Yep. Last Saturday evening I got the call that our SAR team was on stand-by. I packed my gear and paced until we got a further call that were definitely being deployed. A hiker was lost in Baxter State Park and an all day search on Saturday had failed to find him. NavyGirl (AnnieOakley's teen daughter) and I met the rest of the gang near midnight and trekked out to the state park. We got there around 3am. There wasn't a ranger in sight, so we decided to try to sleep in our 3 vehicles (4 people to a car!) until the briefing in the morning. We had tents, but thought it would be too much trouble to set them up...
You may commence laughing now.
After about 2 hours of sighing, swatting mosquitoes, listening to classic rock, sticking legs out windows, growling at those who snored and shifting position every 12 seconds we all gave up and started patrolling Millinocket for anywhere open at 5am that might have bathrooms, food and coffee. It may have been the first time, as an adult, that I was glad to see a McDonalds!
The rangers and other searchers arrived around 7am. By the time we were all briefed and made the long drive to Mt. Katahdn it was 8:30am. We broke up into groups and basically scoured the area assigned to us for 12 hours. And by scour I mean scaled rocks and forced our way through puckerbrush while peering over, around, and under rocks and trees and stream beds yelling "Michael"!
35+ searchers on the mountain all day long and no luck. Not a sign of him. One searcher did get hurt and had to airlifted out amid much ado, but no lost hiker. We were exceedingly tired and somewhat discouraged when we plopped into our tents that night. The next morning we all headed home, glad there were fresh searchers to take our places.
I was so relieved when I got the news that he was found the following afternoon - injured and bug bitten and embarassed, but very much alive. I cried as I watched the video of him talking from his hospital bed. Hopefully, the publicity and Michael's humility will help other hikers to avoid his 3 major mistakes:
1. He hiked alone - never a good idea. Even if you are familiar with the territory, it is wise for two-three people to hike together so someone can get help if one hiker gets injured.
2. He left the trail looking for a "shortcut" and he had no map. Baxter State Park is ginormous and Katahdn is the highest mountain in Maine. You NEED to know where you are going!
3. Once he realized he was lost, he kept moving. Though it is OK to move to a stream or open area where you can be seen, in most cases it is better to STAY PUT and put out something bright colored that searchers can see. If he'd had fire starters with him (he did not) he could have started a fire. The rangers would have been able to use the smoke to locate him the first evening!
At any rate, this searcher is thrilled that Michael is alive and well. I'm looking forward to our team's debriefing tomorrow!
Now, Let's finish out this whirlwind review with some photos. Enjoy!
Tis GrammaJ and I on Mother's Day. I gave her a much coveted morter and pestle.
Mulletman and his mom celebrate Mother's Day witha spin on the old tandem!
(The new one is WAY nicer!
The girls gave me cards and homemade fairies and - oh joy of joys
-a rearview mirror for my bike!
This picture in Erie, PA says it all. (Sadly, there are no Krispy Kremes in Maine. *sigh* So we stopped here TWICE and bought a total of 3 dozen donuts!!!)
Oh Looky! Silly-Head is NINE!
Our beautiful Silly-Head.
The handsome J-Man with Funsocksgirl (at Chuck E. Cheese, of course!)
I think the birthday celebrations wore them out!
WE had the privilege of taking Girly-Girl's longtime friend, IndianaGirl, to the Creation Museum with us. The botanical garden there is outstanding!
There was also a petting zoo there. Mulletman made special friends with this camel.
Funsocksgirl had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction at Niagara Falls.
Yes, those top four VERY wet people belong to me. I was down below with cameras and belongings and dry hair. ;-)
The Lilac Festival in Rochester, NY was loads of fun. Mulletman bought us fruit smoothies to share. We had three different flavors and loved them all .
And let me conclude with this happy news: Mulletman did it: He raised $1,000 for the American Lung Association!
Thank You to ALL who donated!!!!