Leap of Faith 9 15 August 2022
The beached whale is a concrete statue of a grey whale in Santa Cruz, California. My wife, Nancy, and two dogs are in the background. Rick
Season 2 of NBC's La Brea is due Tuesday, 27 September
Leap of Faith 9
Synopsis: Trainee Washington State Trooper and Muckleshoot Indian Jeremy Cross leapt into the Seattle sinkhole giving access to 10,000 BCE. Jeremy had locked eyes with a smiling Izzy Harris and, having recently broken up with his college sweetheart, was overwhelmed with the prospect of new love.
Jeremy hasn’t made contact with Izzy or her father, Gavin in the weeks since entering the Little Dryas era.
Jeremy has had encounters with Musk oxen, deer, mastodons, short-faced bear and a beached sperm whale.
After crossing the Columbia River and fending off a pack of ravenous direwolves, by killing them all, Jeremy is taken in by a village of Native Americans. Jeremy has decided to promote material advancement against their contact with Europeans. When the village leader, Spearman, sees sperm whale teeth that Jeremy has collected, he insists on going back north to the beached whale.
Spearman, Wingman, Bear and Wolf made quick work of extracting the teeth of the sperm whale with jadeite adzes, while Jeremy fended off the teratorn super buzzards with a paddle. The unlucky whale had forty teeth in the narrow lower jaw and matching sockets in the upper.
If the tribe had caught the whale fresh, they might have butchered the meat, dried it, and put it away for the winter. Still, they salvaged a lot. The sperm oil from the head would be used in stone lamps. The long sinews from the tail were prized, as were the intestines.
The men were wading in the surf when Jeremy spotted a dorsal fin arrowing in on a wave. Not a shark, this black sail towered as high as Jeremy above the black and white orca with gaping jaws. Now Jeremy knew what had been taking bites from the sperm whale at high tide. It was coming straight at Wolf.
Jeremy’s rifle would have been the best weapon against the ten-ton juggernaut, but the rifle was strapped on his back. Jeremy yelled, “WOLF!” and stepped to the side to get a clear shot, with his .44 revolver, past the smallest warrior. Couldn’t anything be solved non-violently in this glacial age?
Luckily, Wolf was not inhibited from making a jump away from the sperm whale and the orca’s path. The same movement put Wolf in Jeremy’s gunsights again and Jeremy was too committed to stop the trigger pull. Bam! Jeremy was able to jerk the gun to the side and the bullet flew off into the Pacific.
The wave drained back into the ocean leaving the furious orca momentarily stranded and straining to place Wolf in his jaws. Wolf was having none of that and struck the orca a crafty blow to the head with his adze. Wolf missed the eye but the blow was close enough to signify his intent.
The next wave lifted the orca, who curled and swam away. He had had enough.
Jeremy holstered his revolver and unslung his rifle, “From now on, only work on one side of the whale, so I can guard you better.”
Jeremy saw Wolf was bleeding. The killer whale had drawn blood, after all. Jeremy applied a dressing despite Wolf’s preference, “Just rub some dirt in it.”
Spearman examined their dugout, “We have a full load, now. Let’s head home and not risk angering the gods with our greed.”
The route south went further from shore to take advantage of the Alaskan current. The same current carried ice bergs that obscured Jeremy’s vision.
Jeremy kept his head on a swivel in anticipation of orca revenge but didn’t spot anything.
* * *
Spearman divided the teeth fairly enough and the older Sage received three for his role as village guardian. Jeremy spent the whale teeth and other trading goods on three major projects. The first was a red cedar sea going dugout canoe.
Sage was the village expert and the project started with selecting the proper tree. Sage helped make a proper sacrifice to the spirit of the tree. The tree was girdled to kill it and let it season for weeks before felling. The seasoning could take a year, but Jeremy made it clear he wanted to make a summer voyage.
The second project was a fur suit. Even the heavy fabric of his modern storm parka was showing were and tear from weeks of travel. It turned out the fur inside clothing was the inner half of a winter outfit and made of caribou fur. Boots and mittens were fashioned of seal skin. The outer suit was made of polar bear hide with the fur out so the leather to leather contact would offer the least friction.
After felling the cedar with fire, adze and Jeremy’s steel camp axe, Jeremy moved the log close to the Columbia with log rollers, levers and the tribesmen. The fourteen foot length would be a compromise between seakeeping and Jeremy’s ability to beach a dugout weighing several hundred pounds.
The parka was designed without fasteners that could be torn off and expose the wearer to frigid winds. The same winds would be kept from Jeremy’s face by a wolf fur ruff. The parka was a pullover that extended to Jeremy’s knees and was wide enough he could pull in his legs, if he had to sleep in it.
Jeremy shaped the outside of the dugout to be streamlined fore and aft with a keel to raise the dugout a bit when beaching. The top was flattened a bit but did not produce a wide enough slit for Jeremy to sit inside. Sage counseled patience. Hollowing the canoe was done with both fire and adze work. Jeremy was careful to leave a mass of wood at the bottom center to serve as the mast step.
The seams of Jeremy’s suits were not in the easiest place to sew them. There was no seam on top of his shoulders to be pressed in by a pack strap or part under tension. Equal design went into the trousers, for durability.
Jeremy also spent time hunting with the warriors. He had learned to shape the various stone types into tools and had created his own atlatl spear thrower and a handful of spears. After some discussion of Jeremy’s ability to move stealthily, he was honored with the sitting position in a drive hunt, which netted a deer. The hide would go into his summer outfit.
Jeremy’s seamstress was his third major concern. Sweetwater was of marriageable age as Jeremy could see during the communal morning bath in the Columbia. In the twenty-first century she would be called hot. Girls married out of this tribe, while the men staid home. This should mean there would be little problem with Sweetwater leaving with him, should they decide to marry.
The dugout proceeded slowly and needed much attention. The hull was filled with water and fire-heated stones were dropped in to make it boil and penetrate the wood. Cross pieces were wedged in place and the wedges were hammered each day to widen the softened sides of the canoe into an open shape.
Jeremy worked steadily on the dugout with Sage’s occasional supervision. Meanwhile his mind wrestled with whether he wanted to marry this beautiful Indian maiden. Yes, he wanted to make love with her. This was especially, and embarrassingly, obvious when she fitted his trousers after rubbing her hands over the muscles of his shoulders. On the other hand, he still remembered the smile Izzy Harris had given him.
Izzy was somewhere in this primitive land, whether dead or alive. They hadn’t spoken to each other, let alone dated. He had no real obligation to break up with her before starting a new relationship. Also, Spearman had two wives, so bigamy wasn’t a felony in this tribe. Still, if he married Sweetwater, he would not pursue a relationship with Izzy, should they ever meet again.
Jeremy fashioned a mast and spar of spruce for a triangular, lateen sail. Sweetwater sewed the small sail of whale intestine, which had the advantage of being nearly transparent. There was no deep heavy keel to prevent tipping or side slipping from the wind. The tipping was addressed with an outrigger.
Trial in the Columbia saw Jeremy capsizing the dugout when he tried to turn it around and sail with the wind on the other side. Jeremy determined to swap direction by changing his seating position so the outrigger was always downwind. He also rigged a swing seat from the mast so he could stand on the upwind gunnel, as he had seen in yacht racing videos.
Jeremy filled cedar casks with water and food. The food was mostly the seasonal pine nuts, as he planned the gather shellfish and hunt mammals for meat. Seaweed and pine needles would give him vitamins and electrolytes. Now he just had to talk with Sweetwater and her father.
Leap of Faith 8-29July 2022
Synopsis: Love struck Muckleshoot Indian Jeremy Cross is heading south through what will be the Washington State in 12,000-years. Enchanted by Izzy Harris, Jeremy followed down the Seattle sinkhole when she and her father jumped into 10,000 BCE. After crossing the Columbia River mouth and fighting off a pack of direwolves, Jeremy is taken in by a modest village of Native Americans.
* * *
The village was more expansive than Jeremy had first judged. In addition to the bear resistant houses of cedar logs and planks, there were pine nut granaries, smoke houses, a sweat lodge and other structures he didn’t recognize, yet.
The villagers didn’t appear to have agriculture but hunted and gathered a large variety of seafood, seaweed, mushrooms, tubers and forest game. Their village was located just far enough upstream to ensure fresh water in the river.
Jeremy and the villagers were developing a sign language for common concepts such as eating, drinking and, embarrassingly, defecating, which was into the river. Jeremy had learned vocal names for individuals that he gave private names to in his mind. A problem was that all the men looked alike, excepting height, age and scars. The married women had a variety of facial features. Perhaps they came from other villages by trade or capture.
The day started with a bracing dip in the Columbia for all village members. Naked, of course. Jeremy was thankful the cold water sent all of his blood towards his heart and brain. Drying was with mats of cedar bark.
After bathing, Wingman took Jeremy aside to an area with two rows of deer skins. The row nearest Jeremy’s sleeping hut was empty while a variety of small items were arranged on the hides nearer the village. On examination, Jeremy found a gallon basket of pine nuts with a cover that could be tied in place. Other food items included pemmican, dried seaweed, fish, meat and mushrooms. There was a small horn container of the healing ointment that Sage had prepared. There were ornamental shells and stones as well as tools of quartzite, obsidian and jadeite. It looked like the villagers took Jeremy to be a pack trader and wanted to exchange goods.
Jeremy had ninety-pounds of gear in two packs to assist Izzy and Gavin Harris on their journey to La Brea, California. Jeremy had lost their trail after a few days and now it had been weeks. It was clear the former pilot and his amputee daughter were either dead or getting along fine.
First, Jeremy laid out the winter clothing sized for Izzy and Gavin. Opposite the stone tools Jeremy placed sewing needles, fishhooks and two pocket knives. Opposite the ornaments he placed one of the sperm whale teeth. Then it was time to eat.
The women had cooked the first of two meals for the day by dropping heated stones into a basket. The second would be at sunset. The men drank their fill of water before sitting. There was a large cedar bark mat where the men sat first and were served. Jeremy found chunks of apple, onion and some tuber in his seafood stew. Then the women and children joined them with much talking. Cedar wood trays and bowls were mated with ladles and spoons of buffalo horn. Pointed sticks served as forks for dipping tidbits in seal oil. The seal oil was a bit fishy but after eating lean meat for weeks, Jeremy found he could eat his share.
After eating, Jeremy joined a game of the village boys tossing spears through a rolling hoop. The hoop gave Jeremy the idea of introducing the Chinese wheelbarrow. There were no roads for carts. Would it be ethical for him to introduce concepts that could help the Native Americans against European domination?
Jeremy considered it a while and decided that, a few humanitarians aside, every group in the twenty-first century was trying to advance their own gain. The Devil take everyone else. Jeremy didn’t have the chemistry to make gunpowder and he didn’t know of any iron ore in the area, even if he knew more about blacksmithing.
After, perhaps, an hour the boys took a break and helped themselves to a snack of dried meat, fish and seafood. Spearman showed up and, after eating and with the young men, asked Jeremy back to the trading skins.
Jeremy noted that his clothing had been accepted and switched to the village side. His steel tools were in place and the stone tools had been split into two skins, with the smaller assembly opposite his offerings. Didn’t they appreciate steel?
Spearman didn’t care about any of that. Spearman went to the sperm whale tooth, picked it up and held the imperfectly cleaned root up to Jeremy. It was still fresh enough to stink. Then he swung his outstretched arm in a horizontal arc. Where did you get this tooth?
Jeremy replied, “To the north about three days by foot.” Spearman smiled and clapped him on the shoulder. Paddling gestures conveyed they would leave the next dawn when the Columbia River flow would speed them out into the Pacific.
Jeremy found an aspen leaf and carved a cedar branch into a toy boat. Jeremy drilled a hole into the center of the toy and affixed the leaf with some pine pitch. He had hoped to try out his sailboat before demonstrating but found the village children shadowing his every move. Sure enough, the first sailboat tipped over. A pair of quartzite pebbles stabilized the toy in the light breeze and it sailed across a pond near the village. The children made a variety of noises expressing awe, a giggle of uncertainty and perhaps fear.
Spearman grabbed Jeremy before sunup the next morning along with the crew of Wingman, a muscular Bear and a lean Wolf, shorter than Jeremy. Each was given a burden. A pair of cedar plank water casks was matched with one of dried foods and a bundle of adzes, axes and smaller implements. Jeremy had prepared his dry sack with the essentials.
The cedar log canoe was the largest Jeremy had seen, so far, being over twenty feet long and five feet wide. Jeremy was surprised to see design elements for rough seas such as an out turned gunnel to guide the canoe over the waves. He shouldn’t have been. These people were as likely to have arrived by sea as by walking overland.
The casks were placed in the canoe and all five men strained to launch the heavy boat. Jeremy jumped in with the others and donned gloves before picking up an oar. The trip downstream was eased by the outgoing tide, until they reached the mouth of the Columbia. The tide still hadn’t turned but Pacific waves still came at them with all the momentum built by 5,000 miles of wind. Everybody got wet with salt spray but the boat didn’t capsize.
The course north stayed just outside the kelp beds where Jeremy noticed the heads of sea otters, seals and, on one beach, sea lions. The Alaskan current further out pushed an occasional iceberg or growler towards California. The numbers of birds were enormous the swimming cormorants, stuka-diving pelicans and long-beaked sandpipers patrolling the beach for sand crabs exposed by the tide.
The sun was high when Spearman gave a rest break. Jeremy’s muscles burned like molten iron. It was afternoon when Jeremy spotted the birds circling the beached sperm whale and felt great relief.
The stench was almost visible but the teratorns still ruled the carcass; now featuring large bites in the tail. The men landed their canoe and tied it to a large boulder after pushing it up onto the sand. Jeremy remembered the long take-off runs the birds required and thought to men could just put up some fences across the beach, if they wanted teratorn feathers. Evidently not.
The men collect up their tools and paddles before advancing on the big birds. The smallest wingspan was ten-feet. The teratorns squawked, flapped their wings and snapped at the men with scimitar beaks. The men spread out to give themselves room and went at the birds with the paddles. One actually connected and sent a crippled bird crying down the beach. The biggest teratorn weighed no more than thirty-pounds so the smarter ones moved just far enough away from the whales jaws to avoid being clubbed.
Jeremy took his paddle and finished off the wounded bird with a blow to a neck that seemed skinnier for its baldness. When he returned to the group he was assigned to keeping the birds back.
Leap of Faith 7 new friends
French Adventurers Revolver
The French Adventurer’s Revolver
My grandson and I both admire the French Army revolver of 1873 wielded by Brandon Fraser in The Mummy. The 11mm revolver was obsolete in 1920’s Egypt with the American .45 automatic of 1911 being the odds on best choice.
The French 1873 was designed at the same time as the Colt Single Action Army and shares both slow, rod, ejection and a hammer resting on the primer in line with the barrel. This makes both guns five shooters for the safety conscious. The French gun is a quarter-pound heavier than the Colt and fires a weaker cartridge.
The .45 Colt remained the most powerful American pistol cartridge until the advent of the .357 Smith and Wesson Magnum in 1935. It fires a 250-grain bullet at up to 930 feet-per-second and 490 foot-pounds with black powder. Frank Barnes reports the outside lubricated 11mm French cartridge with a 180-grain bullet going 695 fps and delivering 195 foot-pounds of energy.
The double-action (trigger-firing) ability of the French revolver was prized by soldiers in close combat. The Chamelot-Devigne action has no screws to loosen and become lost. The sideplate can be loosened with a screwdriver handily located on the cylinder pin to expose the entire lockwork for cleaning or parts replacement. There is even a built in lever to de-tension the mainspring.
Our hero may have picked up the gun from a dead companion on the battlefield. I talked to a Vietnam War veteran who did the same with a .45 when his rifle was ruined by enemy fire. That saved his life. Lieutenant George S. Patton experienced an accidental discharge with a .45 automatic while seated at the officer’s mess with General John Pershing in Mexico. Patton often carried a .45 Colt revolver in World War Two. Our hero may prefer a gun that has no detachable magazines to lose in the mud. France has always had strict gun control so it may have been the only pistol he could purchase.
The French Army 11mm cartridge is outside lubricated, meaning the case is the same .451 diameter as the bullet. WWII French resistance would bore the chambers to accept the available .45 ACP cartridge, which headspaces on the case mouth. The cylinders would hold but top straps would eventually fail from the force of jacketed bullets hitting the rifling. Germans adapted the .318 groove 1888 Commission rifles to the .323 Spitzer bullets by extending out the forcing cone, which might work for the 1873. The .45 ACP case is 0.898 long. The .455 Enfield/British/Webley Mark I case is only 0.87 long so cutting a .535 diameter, .035” deep recess for the rim allows the 1873 to fire both cartridges. The 265-grain lead bullet .455 gives 700 fps and 289 foot-pounds with the original black powder loading.
Leap of Faith episode five
Leap of Faith 5
Synopsis: Enchanted by Izzy Harris, Washington State Trooper Jeremy Cross follows down the Seattle sinkhole when she and her father jump into 10,000 BCE. Love struck Muckleshoot Indian Jeremy Cross is heading south through what will be Washington State in 12,000-years.
* * *
Jeremy Cross awoke with eyes slitted against the light of day. A deep breath through his nose didn’t detect any strong animal smell, except his own. He had been on the trail for a week and had slept in shelters erected by Gavin Harris for a few days, before losing the trail.
Sitting up, Jeremy checked his rifle and the revolver on loan from Sergeant James Royal. Jeremy had taken to using the bayonet to hold the rifle vertical and stuck into the ground. Good, no bugs had crawled into the bore. All six chambers of the .44 were filled with hard cast flat point bullets. He had only used one shot to take a Columbian Blacktail Deer.
He didn’t need the thermoelectric light on the rocket stove in daylight and brought his cell phone to full charge while heating a breakfast of minute rice and venison. He reviewed his pictures of the dryas tundra, musk oxen, various plants, short faced bear and mastodon he had encountered.
The path he followed west, today, may have been worn by elk. It was far narrower than the mastodon paths. The sun was still warming his back when he crested a coastal pass and saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time in this era. The vast expanse filled Jeremy with a sense of well-being after days with his vision closed in by trees.
The sun and tide were high by the time Jeremy reached the cliff tops overlooking the shore. Used to the groomed beaches of 2021, Jeremy’s eyes widened at the driftwood thicket below. Not one Japanese fishing float attracted his view. Gulls screeched overhead. A squadron of pelicans dive-bombed for fish just beyond the surf. Dark heads bobbed in the kelp but Jeremy didn’t spot any of the sea otters breaking open shellfish on their bellies.
Jeremy stayed to the cliff top as he ventured towards Los Angeles. At one point a thick stand of cypress blocked his path and all trails led up or down the mountain. He located a twenty-foot pole and trimmed it into a ‘Swede compass’. Going directly through the trees was difficult at times but the long pole wouldn’t bend to deviate from a straight course.
The sun and tide water were in the west when Jeremy found the place he wanted to descend. A stream had carved a defile into the cliff. Something had made a narrow trail that frequently crossed the stream. The low tide exposed a reef of rock as well as the mud bank deposited by the stream.
Jeremy deposited most of his gear above the high tide mark and made his way out onto the reef with his camp pot, knives and medic scissors. He had been told all seaweed was edible but had his preferences. He used the scissors to trim off sea lettuce and used his knife on a sea palm. He potted a feather boa kelp leaf for its saltiness. He left the red Turkish wash rag which was too sour and scratchy for his taste. When he had a full pot, he went back to the freshwater pond and rinsed his harvest before laying it on a rock to dry.
On his next trip, he used the abalone knife to harvest shellfish as it was late in the year and the risk of red tide algae poisoning was low. Barnacles were hard to harvest but taste like lobster, so worth the effort.
The sea and wind had carved a respectable cave into the sandstone cliff so Jeremy settled in for the night. The sand floor was easy on his back. A storm came in well after midnight. The wind roared and was whipping foam from the whitecaps even into Jeremy’s cave. He may have said a bad word at having his dream interrupted. Using his cell phone as a light revealed waves rolling past the high tide mark and ever higher towards the entrance to his cave.
Jeremy scrambled to lace his boots and pack his gear before it was soaked by the rising water. The defile and path to the cliff top was only 300-yards distant but had a 100-yard stretch already under water. Crap. He couldn’t hold the cell phone, his spear and stabilize his rifle while crossing the surf.
Jeremy took off his packs and secured his rifle with the compression straps on the side of the larger, cobalt, pack. The cell phone got secured into a flap pocket and all buttons, flaps, snaps and straps were secured. He would get just as wet waiting around and could end up washed out to sea in the dark. A headlamp replaced the cell phone for illumination and Jeremy set out. The cell phone battery was rechargeable with the rocket stove. The lithium batteries in the headlamp had no replacements in this era.
The wet sand was actually easier going than it had been when dry. Jeremy kept one hand on the cliff, when he could and one hand on his spear. The wind kept blowing spray onto his glasses so he secured them in a breast pocket. All was okay until he reached the low spot.
The water gradually deepened from his ankles to his calves and he stumbled when he stepped unexpectedly into a hole more than knee deep. The waves tried to knock him over towards the cliff and often carried debris. Jeremy turned his head frequently to track the waves and brace for them but had to split his attention forward, probing with his fire-hardened wooden spear.
The nasty wave ricocheted off the cliff behind Jeremy and knocked him flat into the icy brine. In moments, the water swirled back towards the Pacific with a terrific undertow. Jeremy was spun like dirty laundry and there was no daylight to give him any idea of up. He struggled to get his second hand on the spear. Yes!
Air in the larger backpack floated him face down and Jeremy felt sand flowing with his feet over a sand bar and back into the sea. His diaphragm convulsed trying to suck in air past his sealed lips. Oriented now, Jeremy plunged down with the spear and bent his legs down.
The spear stuck in the sand first and was jerk out of Jeremy’s hands. It had done its job, though, and Jeremy’s feet touched into the racing bottom. The sand raced seaward around Jeremy’s boots and there was every chance he would lose his footing, again, and be swept to sea. Then, another wave struck and propelled Jeremy cliffward so he took steps toward the cliff and the defile leading away. Another wave pulsed at Jeremy and he felt something strike his legs. His spear! He ducked to grab it and almost lost his balance but managed to snag it before it left for China.
It started raining before Jeremy made it to the defile. Now it was a race to the top before the stream swelled enough to wash him down like the teensy weensy spider.
The stream grew deeper every minute but burdened with two backpacks Jeremy couldn’t run up to the top of the cliff. He had to spot the footholds with the headlamp and remember where they were when they disappeared under the red mountain rescue pack on his front. He fell heavily when his foot slipped on a muddy rock. A sharp stick, or root, punched into his left palm. He cried out. Damn it hurt.
Jeremy didn’t fall again, but had several near accidents with loose rocks and shrubs betraying him. There was a medium size tree or large shrub that promised some protection from the rain. The lower limbs brushed the ground and didn’t actually give adequate room for Jeremy and his packs. A few minutes with the pack saw solved that problem and the cut limbs provided a seat off the cold soil.
Jeremy was soaked and frozen from his midnight swim. Every limb was shaking and his teeth chattered. Eating might help. Cold cooked venison, mushrooms and seaweed helped fill his stomach. Then he did what he could for the wound in his hand. First he washed it with clean water. Then he pushed triple anti-biotic salve into the wound and topped it with a gauze pad and waterproof tape. The ointment had lidocaine but he finished with 600 mg of ibuprofen.
Jeremy felt like he had just nodded off when daylight and the calls of seabirds woke him. With no dry wood on top of the cliff, he used a heat tab to make coffee. More deer meat and some of the dried seaweed made his breakfast.
Then he used his spear to knock off as much water from the tree as he could and spread his wet clothing to dry. The sunshine was most welcome, though the sea breeze made goosebumps. All the same he gave himself a spit-bath with a wash cloth and micro-fiber towel. His beard was spotty, at best. He only had the disposable razor from the rescue bag, meant to prepare wounds for sutures. He smiled. He would save the razor for when he caught up with Izzy.
Leap of Faith 4
Leap of Faith 4
Synopsis: Rookie Washington State Trooper Jeremy Cross has fallen in love at first sight with amputee Izzy Harris as she and her father Gavin approach the Seattle sinkhole to La Brea. When Gavin and Izzy make a daring leap into the sinkhole, a galvanized Jeremy equips himself from the trunk of the cruiser he shares with Sergeant James Royal and jumps in after them.
Jeremy awakens in tundra and decides to make camp in case Izzy had arrived north of him. Jeremy finds a trio of backpacks delivered by Sergeant James Royal and spends the night near where he arrived. Jeremy is awakened by a herd of muskox and sets off to the south and forested terrain.
Jeremy finds the Harris’s camp and estimates he will catch them in a week, if he can outwalk them while carrying 90-pounds of gear and supplies.
* * *
Jeremy awoke with a full bladder and the knowledge he had been stupid. He was stiff from the previous day’s hiking and had three large bottles of Ibuprofen but didn’t take any. While through hikers could complete the Sierra Crest Trail in a summer, there was no trail in 10,000 BCE. Jeremy would be lucky to complete the trip to Los Angeles in a year.
The rocket stove ate fuel quickly, so Jeremy collected extra and made coffee but not oatmeal. His diet was changing drastically so a cup of oatmeal or rice each day would help keep him regular. He would likely alternate between constipation and Montezuma’s revenge.
His cell phone charged up to 30% while Jeremy heated coffee for a breakfast of jerky and a lifeboat ration. There weren’t any cell towers in La Brea so the poor phone had exhausted itself pinging for one. Jeremy switched it to airplane mode, which seemed ironic in a world with no airplanes.
The mastodon trail was easy enough to follow and frequently passed streams where Jeremy filtered water into his stainless steel bottles. Izzy’s father, Gavin, had left a footprint proving Jeremy was still on the right track.
It was past noon when Jeremy noticed a growling noise. At first he dismissed it as his own abused stomach, but it grew louder as the forest thinned to a clearing filled with feeding
Mastodons. Okay, maybe just a dozen, but the damn things were huge. Not as tall as mammoths. Tubular was the word that best described their body shape. White tusks curved three to four feet from their jaws. Jeremy was surprised to see them noshing on wild flowers and grass as well as twigs and pine needles. Their teeth were not designed for a continuous diet of abrasive grass. Maybe they didn’t know that.
Jeremy backed away to the concealment of a cedar with a seven foot thick base and waited. He didn’t want to scare a mastodon mother. Of course, mastodon noses were sensitive and soon the area was filled with trumpeting as mothers herded their babies away from the strange man-scent. Bulls advanced towards Jeremy and wagged their huge heads; trying to catch sight of the intruder.
Boom. A baby mastodon hit the ground and the mother’s trumpeting was a maddened shriek that hurt Jeremy’s ears. He couldn’t see much of the action through the forest of thrashing mastodon legs. The bull’s gave a derisive snort in Jeremy’s direction and turned to address the attack. What was it?
Jeremy eased a bit back into the forest and sidled toward the west end of the clearing. Spot a thick boled tree. Plot the quickest path that wouldn’t trip him with branches or rocks. Look all ways. Scoot. Then look all ways before scouting for the next tree. Slow going but in a few minutes Jeremy had gained a vantage point.
The baby mastodon was still down and blood was pulsing from a wound in its throat. The reddened sides gave testimony to the crimson fountain of just a short time ago. Two mothers were trying to lift the baby onto its feet with their trunks. Jeremy felt a lump of compassion in his throat.
The mastodon bulls trumpeted warning towards the woods to the south. That was the direction Jeremy was headed. He took a deep breath and emptied his lungs to clear his mind. He looked into the forest edge for a full minute but couldn’t see past the bright meadow into the shadows.
Several more minutes passed as Jeremy snuck further south and deeper into the forest. He had just reached the pine that would shield him from the sight of the mastodons when he heard a soft cough. Jeremy froze, then slowly turned his head towards the new sound. Crap. It was a bear.
The bear was large; at least as large as a grizzly with noticeably longer legs and a smashed in face. When time allowed, later, Jeremy would realize the bear’s shorter jaws gave greater crushing power than a polar bear. The bear stood on all fours only twenty-yards away in the forest. Still, Jeremy might not have seen it except for the mastodons gobbling up lower branches and saplings. The bear was a little uphill and his eyes were higher than Jeremy’s.
Jeremy remembered two things. He couldn’t outrun a bear; especially downhill. Running would just assure the bear that Jeremy knew he was prey. Bullshit. He also recalled a movie where a grizzly stalked a pair of downed aviators. Jeremy swung the butt of his rifle up to his shoulder and pushed the safety over to ‘fire’.
The bear didn’t roar, like in the movies. The bear made a popping sound with his jaws and stood on his hind feet. That put the bear’s head taller than the backs of the mastodons. Jeremy aimed at the bear’s head and when those jaws opened again, fired a bullet through the roof of its mouth.
Jeremy didn’t hear his own rifle shot but the renewed trumpeting sounded muffled to him. The report was deafening both immediately and likely in his old age. If he lived that long.
The bear dropped like George Foreman smacked by Mohammed Ali. Jeremy palmed the rifle’s bolt sharply and chambered a new round. Then he drew his bayonet and snapped it in place on the muzzle of the rifle. This world was as scary as he had imagined. The bear hadn’t moved and the damage to its head looked mortal. A thrown stick didn’t elicit even a twitch.
Sometime later, Jeremy was back on the trail south and west with the bear’s heart in a plastic bag. Now, he was shaking. The liver hadn’t any spots but bears are scavengers. He would cook the meat thoroughly to kill any parasites.
Dead trees littered the forest floor and were attacked by fungus. Jeremy picked some morel mushrooms and some chicken-of-the-woods that he recognized as safe to eat. He placed a small bit under his tongue as he hiked. That didn’t cause any problems, so he could eat the rest for dinner.
The sun was already low when Jeremy came upon the shelter Gavin had made with long strips of cedar bark. There were several cedar trees nearby, so they should all survive the theft. Jeremy thought of pushing on for about two seconds but his aching feet and common sense agreed to spend the night in Gavin’s tepee.
A few small bones and quills in the fire to Jeremy that Gavin or Izzy had killed a porcupine. They could be killed with a club so Native American tradition was to leave them alone, unless starving.
Jeremy found a five-needle pine and collected some needles to steep as a tea. That should give him vitamin-C. Three-needle pines, like the ponderosa, had more toxic compounds. Jeremy’s mnemonic told him the Ponderosa’s Adam Cartwright had three sons. The sugar pine had five-letters in its name and five needles.
Jeremy tenderized the evening meat by stabbing it with the bayonet. Salt and a spot of Tabasco gave it a more homelike flavor. The mushrooms were softer but his jaw was sore when he climbed into bed.
Jeremy dreamt of Izzy. First, he saw her smiling face haloed by her silver hair. Then, he dreamt of her spooning him with her firm body pressed against his. Then, he heard a stick break, a large one, and he found himself sitting with his heart pounding in his throat. Where was his rifle? No. He didn’t have room in the tepee to swing his rifle. Jeremy grabbed his right wrist and followed the lanyard to the revolver’s butt. Jeremy had thought James Royal might have seen too many Royal Canadian Mounted Police videos, when he first noticed the lanyard ring on the revolver. Now, it seemed like genius. A glowing tritium front sight would have been nice, but 12,000-years too late to ask for that. Or too early.
The sound didn’t repeat and Jeremy fell back to sleep in a few hours. This time he dreamt about the bear.
Arms in schools?
Modern sporting rifle confiscation (assault weapon buyback)
Adult men outside of military service are the unorganized militia. They are supposed to keep military weapons to maintain civil order The Kyle Rittenhouse Story Explained – NBC Chicago , The Bank Raid - Northfield Historical Society (northfieldhistory.org) , counter rebellion ShaysRebellionPAT_final.pdf (umbc.edu) , repel invasion Forbidden Photos Reveal What Life In Hawaii Was Like After Pearl Harbor | HuffPost Latest News and deter tyranny Cambodian Genocide: 1975-1979 - Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Committee. Militia arms might also prove useful for protecting the home January 2017: Patty Hearst Kidnapping — FBI Why “High Powered” 5.56 NATO/.223 AR-15 Ammo is Safer For Home Defense (FBI overpenetration testing) - Gripknife or hunting California Outdoors Q&A | deer hunting 9 Best Cartridges and Calibers for Hog Hunting – Backfire . An Act concerning shooting in long bows - Wikisource, the free online library People also practice archery and sword fencing though they are not front line weapons in 2022. Archery in Tudor England - Janet Wertman
The military has adopted full-automatic assault rifles that fire a less powerful round than the .30-06 battle rifle cartridge. While the Lebel battle rifle was sighted to 2400-meters; machine guns, mortars and artillery are now available for targets at that distance. Germany found the average soldier could not identify and fire at an individual enemy further than 300-meters. The less powerful assault rifle cartridges are accurate and powerful enough at 300-meters.
Assault rifles are adapted to full-automatic fire with stocks in-line with the barrel, tall sights, vertical hand grips and detachable box magazines. Germany fielded a full-automatic battle rifle called the FG-42 (paratrooper’s rifle) but found it was not controllable in automatic fire. The nine-pound full-automatic M-14 battle rifle was supposed to not only replace the 18-pound Browning automatic rifle; but also the 10-pound Garand M-1, the five-pound M-1 Carbine (with less powerful ammunition, the .45 Thompson submachine gun and the .45 self-loading pistol. The M-14 proved uncontrollable in automatic fire and was soon replaced by the Armalight rifle firing an intermediate power .223/5.56mm cartridge.
Citizens taking their militia duty seriously often prefer to purchase an Armalight (AR-15) rifle in 5.56X45mm (.223 Remington). It fires military ammunition which will be produced even in times of war. As a NATO cartridge, it is also produced in several nations and is available when other calibers are in short supply. Like all widely used military rifles, the bugs and weaknesses have been eliminated or addressed. Barrels on civilian rifles might be rated for 1000 to 10,000 rounds while the AR-15 barrels of 4150 steel are expected to last 12,000- 20,000 rounds. Which AR-15 barrel should I get? 4150 CMV Black Nitride or 416R Stainless Steel? - Veriforce Tactical Parts, accessories’ and trained armorers are available. Veterans are familiar with the operation and maintenance.
The Federal government will not eliminate crime by confiscating rifles. While the USA experienced 13,927 homicides in 2019, only 364 were with a rifle. 600 were committed with hands and feet. 1,476 were done with knives. FBI — Expanded Homicide Data Table 8 The Mexican cartels have no problem getting firearms in a country with only one gun store for citizens. The Cartels have great success smuggling drugs and people into the USA. Police have been less successful confiscating guns from criminals in Chicago or New York City.
The majority of school shootings are done with pistols. List of school shootings in the United States (before 2000) - Wikipedia Raising the age of legal firearm purchase will not help. Half the shooters are under 18-years old and didn’t purchase their arms legally. Some stole weapons from home. Some killed family members to get guns and vehicles. Half of the shooters between 18 and 21-years old used handguns they could not purchase at the gun dealer. FACT CHECK: Have Assault Weapons Been Used In ‘Hundreds’ Of School Shootings? | Check Your Fact I believe Josh Sugarman proposed banning military style rifles as a warm up to banning handguns.
Magically eliminating firearms from the Earth will not disarm evildoers. Look at history. Please. Siege of Kiev | Weapons and Warfare Fifty-thousand inhabitants gave their skulls to the victory mound. Mongol invasion of Kievan Rus' - Wikipedia. The worst school massacre was done with explosives: Bath School disaster - Wikipedia 1927. Gasoline is perfect for arson/murder: Happy Land fire - Wikipedia 87 dead $1 gasoline.
But we don’t have magic so gun control is not perfect: Mexico violence: With only one gun shop, why all the murders? - BBC News. Where do the cartels get grenade launchers? Mexican Military Seizes Cartel's Rocket Launchers, Dynamite, Grenades near U.S. Border (breitbart.com) How do cartels get RPG and AT stuff ??? : NarcoFootage (reddit.com) RPG’s are not found in the typical American gun store.
There may also be domestic resistance to disarmament: Waco siege - Wikipedia 20+ children killed, Remembering Lives Lost in Oklahoma City Bombing, 24 Years Later | PEOPLE.com 19 children killed That time Eric Swalwell threatened to go nuclear on gun owners. Literally | Washington Examiner Could be some of that collateral damage.
Rick Kester is a Viet Nam era veteran living in Northern California with his wife Nancy.