I'll do a general update later, but for now, a couple of my tweets demand a more thorough examination of the details, specifically the ones about the naked guy on the beach.
While nothing ended up happening, I would like to add a disclaimer of sorts. This is the blog post you might not want your child or student reading. I for one am thinking of my nieces and nephew. I was vague on Twitter because I wanted the adults out there to be able to decide for themselves what was appropriate before adults and children stumbled upon the following together.
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The day was normal enough. I woke up on the beach in Crystal Beach, took a quick dip, and then hiked northeast along the ocean to High Island, 18 miles according to Google maps. I took several breaks and was taking it easy, so this distance wasn't bad on my feet at all.
The plan was to restock in High Island, packing about six quarts of water and a little food, and hike the next 30 to 40 miles in two days. There used to be a maintained road directly between High Island and Sabine Pass along the beach, but it had long since been abandoned. What was left was a stretch of beach about 100 feet wide with the ocean on one side and the McFadden Wildlife Refuge on the other (no fences). Since the majority of this trip was going to be road walking, I was excited about this "last" stretch of beach for 2000 miles.
After visiting the High Island convenience store and chatting up a friendly clerk, I made my way back to the beach. It was around 6pm. I found a guy who seemed to be living out of his car, and I stopped to swap a few words with him. I asked him two things: 1) if there were many people who fished out there, and 2) if the police bothered him much where he was (he was literally a hundred yards or so from the main road). He told me that he hadn't seen any fishermen nor policemen all day long. I thanked him and kept going.
Up another quarter mile, I saw another vehicle, a gray Bronco-like car. When I was quite far away, the driver was repositioning the vehicle with its back to the refuge and the front facing the ocean. In a few minutes, I was passing the guy, and I gave a little wave of the book I was holding. He nodded back.
It was weird though. Something wasn't right. After about one minute, I looked back, and what I saw is still shocking. He was completely out of the bronco, standing buck naked to its side, and even though he was far away, it seemed to me he was masturbating.
At this point, I couldn't believe it. I hiked on, not knowing what else to do and kept looking back. After another minute, something else happened that was equally as shocking. The guy had gotten back into the bronco and was driving up the beach in my direction.
Now, I was freaking out. I cut across the little beach and directly into the wildlife refuge. The refuge had a lot of low bushes and shrubs and weeds and was easy for me to enter and maneuver in. We were easily visible to one another. The guy drove past the point I entered the refuge and parked about 50 yards down the beach.
I whipped out my cell phone and called my mom for a quick update. The guy was in the bronco watching me. I wasn't moving, but I was kneeling down in a flat area between some shrubs. Then I called 9-1-1, and the dispatcher informed me that police don't actually patrol the beach at all because of the road's poor condition. Still, she listened and wrote down everything. During this time, the guy must have figured something was up. He started driving the bronco back down the beach, but he stopped momentarily. It looked to me like he had a pair of binoculars. He sped off back to High Island, and I never saw him again.
I called my brother Charlie and gave him a quick update (my mom's phone had died). Then I decided upon a somewhat rash course of action: hike through the night to Sabine Pass. I informed my family of my plans, and then I set off.
By this time, the sun had set and the light was quickly fading. I hiked northeast in the refuge for a little bit, parallel to the beach, then I got out of the refuge and back on the beach which made for easier hiking. I looked over my shoulder every few seconds. Not long after getting back on the beach, I saw what looked like white vehicle lights down the beach. I plunged back into the refuge for another quarter mile, walking through small streams and getting my shoes and socks wet.
Again, I came out onto the beach. I was so distressed. I could have easily made it back to High Island earlier, but I was in this thing now. In the distance, I saw red lights which in my state I thought were massive bonfires. This evidence of humanity did not comfort my nerves. I started wondering how I was going to outpace the pervert AND outwit the satanic flesh-eaters ahead of me.
There was a mostly full moon out, so I didn't have to use my head lamp (not that I wanted to). I hiked hard and quietly. I walked along the water's edge, so the waves would erase my footprints. On a few occasions, I disturbed some gulls who broke the silence with their caws.
I called Annie and related the tale to her. She read what many of you read, the abbreviated Twitter tweets, and had read nothing further into the events of the day. When I elaborated on the story above, she couldn't believe it. We talked briefly and then I let her go to conserve my phone battery.
I took two breaks along the way. My feet were killing me. The wet shoes and socks provided just enough cushion to prevent my feet from breaking. I cut my breaks short both times, though, because something would stir me into believing I was being tracked. One time, I saw those white lights flare up again. The second, a heard a bird making noise and figured that someone or something had walked past a sleeping bird just down the beach just as I had earlier in the night. In both cases, I threw on my bag and hiked on.
The red lights in the distance turned out to be city lights and off shore rig lights. This eased my stress a little bit. I concentrated on putting a lot of distance between me and High Island.
I didn't stop until 12:15am. I found a crappy spot off the beach and on the edge of the refuge to camp. At some point in the middle of the night, I got rained on. While the rain was a terrible addition to an already terrible situation, it comforted me that the road was becoming impassable (I hoped) and that all my tracks would shortly disappear. I must have slept for a little bit, but whatever it was, it wasn't much. Somewhere in the there, I ate a little bit and drank a ton of water.
I got up at 6am, packed up, and took off. I found four-wheel drive vehicle prints in the sand. I couldn't tell if they were old or fresh, but when I saw a car in the distance in the direction I was hiking, I started getting nervous all over again. I hiked toward it, already planning my next moves.
It turned out to be a couple of groups of fishermen. This eased my mind tremendously. I finally felt like it was all over. I hiked to the easternmost part of the coastline, doubled back, and made my way to Sabine Pass. My parents picked me up at around 8pm, having just finished more hospital business in Houston.
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That's my tale. I'm looking forward to your reactions.
Until next time, flasher-wannabes...