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Arrested?


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Oh boy...are you ready for a story? Maybe I should write a book someday.

 

I was detained for half an hour in August '07 for my own misinformed mistake. My school lies snuggled up against a small mountain range that the government uses to test explosives and create industry-grade diamonds (they also pay my school to conduct terrorism research). You can probably see where this is going. There's a cache located on a peak in this range that is just touching the off-limits boundary but is nearly entirely located open space land. So nothing's wrong there. I went up, didn't find the cache (pretty pathetic for a 15-mile hike), and hiked back down. I came across an unmarked road and, since it went the general direction I needed to go, I took it.

 

Well...it took me right past the security checkpoint. The cop inside flagged me down and was baffled that I "got past them" entering in the space (even though I took a school trail right past the testing land...nothing illegal). She checked my camera for photos, checked my phone for photos, searched my bag, frisked me, and said they'd "be in touch" and that "nothing usually results". Usually? Then I remembered this wallet I found at the beginning of my hike. I even waypointed the location found with my GPSr (why? I still don't know). I handed the wallet over and she pointed me on my way.

 

The next day, I got a call from the school police. I mentally panicked. But then the cop told me I needed to show them where I found the wallet. It belongs to a man missing for ten years, the officer said. I told him I had class in two hours, and I could give him the coordinates. Well...it seems most police don't use GPS yet. He said I had to show them right now.

 

So I met up with what turned out to be a small caravan of school, city and county police officers. I fired up the GPS and let it gather satellites all the way to the trailhead. There is no easy way to reach the site--it's the desert; the ground is uneven, tire-puncturing mesquite is everywhere, axel-busting gullies are unavoidable--so we all set off on foot, me way in the lead. It's up one ridge and down the next, up another and down...at the final arroyo ridge, I looked back to see a long stream of officers behind me. This is the spot.

 

I showed them the exact mesquite bush that stood in my way in the arroyo...and my boot and tire prints from earlier. The police, with bullseye accuracy, headed upstream and uphill to the north. I started wandering back up the other side the ridge, back to the suburbans...I had to teach lab soon. I watched the police across the dried river bed and suddenly, they silently converged into one area.

 

When one officer walked back to my spot on the ridge, I asked if they found anything, not expecting an answer. He nodded: they found bones and a pistol.

 

So, one super-long story later, they sent the bones to be analyzed. The family of the missing man invited me to Brian Darling's memorial, took me out to dinner, and thanked me in a way I still have a hard time saying "you're welcome" to. A short while later, the identification of the man was confirmed. Darling had indeed died out in the desert and stayed there for 10 years waiting for someone to find him.

 

The cache was the most life-changing cache I never found. I was never bothered again about trespassing on EMRTC land. Anyone up for a hike?

Edited by FadeAwayPain
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I was visiting this cache South of New Orleans, and parked my car on a dirt road that happened to be a levee. Seeing as though we don't have levees up here in Alberta, I didn't know that this was a faux paux. I found the cache, and was returning to my car when a member of the County Levee Police came roaring up on his quad. He informed me to get my car off the levee immediately. Turns out he was a super nice guy, and hoped to one day visit Canada. He informed me that in Louisiana, they are apparently quite strict about driving on levees, since it could be a terrorist threat.

 

I promised not to drive on any more of his levees, and was on my way.

 

Made me think of the song American Pie, and that it's somewhat outdated:

 

"Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was a terrorist target, so I had to move the car"...

I like the rendention :)

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Wow... that's amazing.

 

I hate the cliche... but you gave a family "closure"... that's a pretty awesome gift, even if the outcome wasn't a happy one. Better to know for once and for all, than not to know.

 

Jenn

 

Yep! That's exactly what they and the police said. It's still hard for me to understand. It was a literal needle-in-the-haystack sort of find...found by complete accident. It's crazy.

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In my little bubble, it wasn't random chance. It was time for the family to learn what happened, and you were the vehicle to do that. The odds of you finding it, let alone having the presence of mind to mark a waypoint is not a coincidence to me. For whatever reason - what happened was meant to happen.

 

Just as you've stated it was a life-changing experience - so it was meant to be.

 

I believe all things happen for a reason.

 

I can surely understand how "thanks" would seem odd under the circumstances - but in another way I can totally understand how the family would be grateful because 10 years of unanswered questions can finally be put to rest, along with their dearly departed.

 

There is another thread going on unusual things found in caches (or near them) - this one I think might just qualify as one of the most significant.

 

Jenn

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