Down the hill to the shore, Ryan casted a few times jut short of where the fish were jumping. "I'm afraid you just about need a float tube to fish this water" he remarked again, repeating the frustrating realization we came to when we drove up. Back then, we had intended to fish on small water up high, but now that this had not come true, we were wishing we had been better prepared- sort of.
The on-again off-again philosophy of both kinds of pole; fly and cast, only one kind, no pole at all, shore and creek vs. pond and lake using tubes and all manner of fishing belief in between has been filtering in and out of both Ryan and my mannerisms for years. This trip was no exception.
Now we were headed back to the truck, on to new turns and decisions on where to go or not. But as I loped along, my laces loose from the rough terrain above, I felt unnaturally light. I pawed at my vest pockets, at my pants pockets, looked at my hands to see if I had lapsed too far into weariness to not notice a GPS unit in any of the customary locations. It was gone.
I waved Ryan on to the truck and mumbled something about the machine being gone as I headed backwards in my tracks, wondering if I would have to decide whether or not to purchase one of the infernal things anew.
I hoped that it had just fallen out of my pocket as I shuffled down the hill, preferably low on the hill. I knew it couldn't be too far off, but it was a messy old slope, and I didn't know exactly the angle I'd taken down from the fence. It was possible that it was gonnity-gone gone.
Then another thought came into my head, a memory of how I had gotten across the fence and the banter we had exchanged as we crossed it. "Yeah, better mark this corner with the GPS, for the next time we're in exactly this same place" echoed mockingly in my mind, jangling all my notions of God, justice and humor into one complete whole. I headed up the hill toward the fence, scanning right and left for signs of the cedar posts.
Yeah. It was there. Right on the ground directly under the wire, the GPS unit was resting on its face.
With relief, embarrassment and a healthy but resigned chuckle, I grabbed the little machine and again limped down the slope. It took me another ten minutes to get back to the truck, but I got there, checking the trailhead map once more for the position of the ponds we had looked for, relative to the terrain we had covered. I had no idea then, and still have no idea where else to look.
I reported the hijinx and success to Ryan, and he, too, laughed a sort of resigned laugh. He understood the meaning of the whole situation, and the lesson to be learned right now. That's if the lesson is heeded, and all the facets are understood. Aye, there's the rub.
Turning onto the road toward Escalante after a brief moment of indecision as to which way to go, our hopes were girded, but we had no idea what that hope would lead to...