If you liked Bug In you might also enjoy Bug Out. Thank you to all those who support me. This is for you and for all my readers who have asked for a second story. Bug Out - will be a short story. I will be posting a chapter a day so follow along at your own pace. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. CT Horner. Bug Out - Chapter 1 Spring was a long time coming and I had a bad case of cabin fever, so I decided to take my old friend Gary’s offer of joining his prospecting club. I wasn’t much interested in digging or panning, but I liked to explore, so I thought I could get something out of it. After I got a couple of meetings under my belt, I felt comfortable probing the old timers for stories of abandoned mines and one such story peaked my curiosity. The club collected old maps marked with mining claims and one long abandoned claim really had me excited. It was a hard rock mine, fifty miles from the nearest road and the trail in, that wound its way through the mountains, had washed away some fifty years ago. One of the old timers had hiked in with a partner about ten years, or so, ago and it took the pair three days to make it to the old claim. What they’d discovered was that the mine was shut down because they’d struck water and the mine flooded. The remote location and the lack of any real strike made the decision to give-up easy. The pair went through the tailing pile and came up empty. Three days, hiking back, was plenty of time for them to come to the same conclusion which was it just wasn’t worth it to mine the place. After listening to their story and surveying the map, I had to agree with them, but after staring at the map for hours, a thought struck me, so I pulled up a current topographical map of the area and transferred the coordinates to it. Now, my idea was taking shape - the mine was fifty miles from the closest road, but only eight miles from the Colorado River. So, my friend and I packed our backpacks and set off, in my boat, up the river. Gary and I planned on an overnighter - beach the boat and hike in - with the GPS, it would be a simple task. When we got to the closest spot on the river, the plan had to be changed - there was no place to beach the boat. So, we continued upriver, another three miles, to a cut in the bank where a wash had eroded it away. I pushed the boat into the soft sand and set two anchors on the beach. We organized our gear and hiked in, followed the wash for nine miles and turned south to the old mine. The going was easy and we made great time - it took us four and a half hours. “If we had our quads we could do it in fifteen minutes,” Gary remarked flippantly. My response was equally sarcastic, “Your quad floats then?” “What do you mean?” he inquired. “How do you reckon we get our quads here to ride them?” I challenged. That ended that. At the mine, we explored the site and were able to find the foundation of a cabin as well as a half-standing, stone workshop. The mine itself was nothing more than a tunnel slanting down into the bottom of a hill. It went in about eighty feet before you were ankle deep in water and we didn’t want to get soaked - the flashlight could only penetrate so far. It looked like the mine continued its descent until it was completely, submerged under the water. It looked like they’d struck an aquifer or underwater river. We explored the rest of the area all afternoon and discovered, what appeared to be, the remains of an old out house. “This has promise!” Gary announced. “How so?” I replied? “Well people would throw all kinds of junk down the hole, especially bottles and old bottles can be worth quite a lot,” he continued. “How do you suppose we excavate the area when we only got one small shovel?” I stated the obvious. “We come back with the proper tools,” he replied confidently. “You gonna pack them in?” I questioned suspiciously. “Sure. Be glad to. Piece of cake, in fact,” Gary assured me. “This I gotta see!” I countered. Once we had our camp set up and the dinner mess cleaned up, and repacked, Gary pulled out a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon and took a long pull before handing the bottle to me. “The way I see it,” he started, “is this would be a great place to explore if it weren’t so remote.” “But, the fact that it’s so remote is what makes it a great place to explore! There have only been four people here in the last fifty years and you and I are two of them,” I reminded him. “Exactly my point,” Gary continued as he reached for the bottle. “Now, as I was saying, this is a great place to explore. All we have to do is make it not so remote to us,” Gary suggested. “How do you propose we do that?” I asked in anticipation because I knew he’d already figured it out. We slept out under the stars like a couple of pioneers, hashing out the details of his plan and hiked out the next morning to set our plan in motion.