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My favorite memory of the past decade, and what I did outdoors with my trusty 10 year old gear:
I Went In Search Of A Long Lost Pygmy!
A decade ago, while living in a recently civilized land, far far away, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean... I heard tales of a indigenous mountain-man who lived in the nearby forest; and that he'd been proven (genetically) to be a Pygmy! So, I dawned my decade old Vibram boots, grabbed my pack, and ran into forest in search of A Pigmy!
As a survivalist and amateur anthropologist in top physical shape; within a few weeks I'd found his territory. I inspected his squats (camps) and hurled myself deeper into the jungle, hot on his trail...
Dodging falling coconuts and avocados the size of footballs, I tackled the jungle; often vaulting thru bamboo groves, and into thigh-deep mud bogs (to deter wild boars), all the while sensing I was being watched...
Within a month A Pigmy was luring me on, his footprints obviously garnished with bananas, mangos, guava and passion fruits. With such a banquet being laid before me, I followed his clicking sounds while wild cherries poked at me, apple bananas slapped my face, and strawberry guava fell into my mouth on command! I feasted and drank up the raining forest, confident that A Pigmy was waiting for me just ahead. He lead me to fern groves and mountain streams, to harvested fern shoots, bird eggs, and mountain shrimp. Under waterfalls with pristine pools, he left soap root and awapuahi for much need pampering of my sun baked skin and dry blonde curls.
A Pigmy was everywhere, but nowhere to be seen; he was Paradise hidden, but certainly not lost. I became so absorbed, I simply forgot my quest; I was living in the forest, without a thought to my existence.
One day, after climbing 7 consecutive waterfalls, via roots and vines, I found myself floating in an extinct volcanic crater, filled with warm fresh water and sweetgrass. I suddenly saw myself from above, and realized where I was...
I had an Epiphany... that I had actually become the indigenous being that I was seeking so desperately.
Hours passed... and every cell in my body resonated as heaven on earth. Then I wondered... Was my search for A Pigmy even real?
Was I dreaming; or possibly dead?
Suddenly my thoughts became overwhelming:
Was I just searching for something that was hidden inside me all along? Did I have some kind of identity crisis; or a psychological "break down"? Did I somehow "loose my mind"? OMG; GIRL THINK! What did you eat? Could I be hallucinating?
I sat up totally amazed that I was still in the jungle. I realized a year had passed; the sun, topography and foliage around me confirmed it. So I came to my senses, climbed down the mountain in a daze, and went back to "a normal life" in the city.
Months later, while eating in a local family house/cafe in a rural market; I heard excited chatter out back, then familiar clicking sounds. Peering thru the curtain I saw a tiny pair of hands giving fruits to the cook. When I looked up, I saw a very small, nearly-naked indigenous man studying me. When our eyes met, his whole face lit up! Everyone in the place stared when he yelled out in perfect English... Ah ha! I found you!
(This is a true story; and certainly not the end!)