Day 2• Sept 4, 2016 • Celebration Park to Bruneau Dunes • 65 miles
Day Two of the tour dawned with the threat of a recurrence of last night’s rain and no small amount of apprehension. Rationalization was over: we were now committed to what was most likely a criminal act. While I stand by the convictions expressed earlier, in the grand scheme of things it’s difficult to make the case that this act of defiance rises to the level of, say, civil rights or women’s suffrage. We were a band of middle-class white people trespassing on the property of another band of middle-class white people. If anything, this act was embarrassingly trite.
We didn’t talk much about the task ahead during breakfast. I was clinging to the memory of the last time I did the crossing, when no-one seemed to notice or care, but sensing that this time might be different. We got our first taste of just how different when a hiker and his dog wandered by just as one of the trikes was dangling precariously over the barbed-wire fence. Act natural! We froze in place as if in a Far Side cartoon awaiting the caption. The hiker bade a cheerful hello and wandered off without commenting on having caught us mid-crime, which somehow made it seem worse.
Not long after we were saddled up on the other side of the fence, travelling through the 2000-foot section that is unambiguously private, the real trouble began. The nearest local (near enough to hear and kind of see, but not particularly close to our path) began bellowing “You’re trespassing! Turn around and go back the way you came! Turn around! I’m calling the cops!” Or something like that. Rob and I were in the lead, by this time on Guffey Lane. Turning back would have meant ignoring a no trespassing sign that was missing in the direction we had just come (stomped into the dirt by someone else, we later surmised) and travelling back through the same 2000 feet of unambiguously private land. I don’t think so. It was time to double-down. I foolishly yelled that we were moving on, which the local man construed as me talking back, and the bellowing raised a few more notches in pitch and volume.
I led the group forward at what I thought to be a motivated yet considered pace. In hindsight, I think I just high-tailed it out of there. When I finally looked back, Rob was way behind and Mark and Katie were nowhere to be seen. This will make for some awkward dinner conversation come Thanksgiving. I slowed way down but eventually reached Highway 78 on my own. I waited. And I waited. This can’t be good…