Thursday, March 19, 2015

Vailima - Robert Louis Stevenson

I will do just about anything for a Geocache.  Groups of us have rappelled, hiked all day, fallen from cliffs, and hurt ourselves in any way imaginable just to find a stupid box in the middle of some God-forsaken area, using space-age technology.

This is one of those stories.

There is a lovely house on the hillside outside of Apia, Samoa that was home to Robert Louis Stevenson.  It was built in .... blah blah blah, history, and stuff you can look up on wikipedia to sound really smart at your next Stevenson themed party...

Quite Majestic

On the hillside near the house is the grave of Stevenson.  This is important because there is a geocache located near that grave.  This is no big deal.  I have yet to meet the under 2,000 foot peak that could conquer me.  Again, my life seems to be a running theme of my pride getting me into trouble.

Trail starts off normal.  Incline.  Pretty Setting.  Some rocks here and there.  Keeping an eye out for any wild jungle animals, and playing scenes of how to escape Predator in my head (just in case).  Pretty sure the covered in mud trick will come in handy.

Majestic Nature

Then the trail turns to this.  

Less Majestic

Perhaps I forgot to mention that the country just got hit by a hurricane... twice.  It hit once, and then decided to swing a quick loop back and knock everything down that was still standing for good measure.  Entire villages were wiped out. Flooding was extensive.  That tree is about the size of a small house.  This is where shit got real.  I remember this point clearly.  There is one active geocache in the country.  It is straight up a hill where I have to climb over trees the ranging in size from a car to houses on a hillside that has a slope of about 45 degrees.  Camera went into the backpack, which got strapped down tight, and onward I went.  I needed that geocache like Gollum needed the One Ring.  

Pride and stupid decisions go hand-in-hand.

I finally lost the trail.  Again, no pictures, I was just trying to not die at that point.  I suddenly remembered why I usually have climbing rope in my geocaching stuff.  Great job on that one.  I took a bearing on the sun, figured the right direction to go, and then just went off trail and headed straight up the cliff.  Somehow I popped out on to a lovely cleared trail and walked right up into another hiker.  He told me that he was using the "easy" trail, and I must have taken the destroyed "hard" trail.  No Shit.

Finally, I made it to the top. Covered in mud and cuts.  Everyone else had bottles of water and a splash of mud on their Bermuda pants and I looked like something out of the Swamp Thing.  I took a quick spit bath for my picture with my G.P.S.r. to prove I was in the location, and then take in the view.

Remember that Dark Colors Don't Show Stains

The view was worth it.  

Majestic Again

After giving up on staying clean, I stumbled and slid my way back down to the bridge that spans the creek near the house.  I decided this is a great place to take a quick bath and under the watchful eyes of three construction workers I proceeded to splash water all over myself to get some of the mud off before I walked back onto the grounds of the Robert Louis Stevenson house.  Of course, I am barefoot.  In water that looks sort-of clean, enjoying getting the mud and muck off of my bruises and cuts.  

Under Construction

Then I spotted it.  About six inches from my foot was a hypodermic needle.  I exited the river and walked back to the house.  Carefully.  I showered using their garden hose.  

Quite the adventure for a geocache.  The ice cold coconut at our favorite little restaurant on the side of the road in Apia, Samoa was extra amazing that day.

Straw Added for Dramatic Effect