“Just a little further!”.  Line Producer, Norman Denver, forged ahead, his constitution fortified by boxing and scotch.  “Almost there!”

I scanned the trees to either side, then the winding pathway that dipped up ahead before curving and disappearing behind the dense brush.

“Watch your step!”warned Brandon Tataryn, skirting a deadly patch of ice and then scurrying to keep up.

I gave the frosted path a wide berth, then threw a look back at our two stragglers, Executive Producer’s Assistant Elliot Sokolsky and Director Ron Murphy, both of who seemed to be having second thoughts about this whole forest venture.

It was approximately 3 p.m., the temperature was dropping, and the lunch we’d enjoyed at Hamilton’s premiere Indian restaurant was not sitting pretty.  We’d spent the morning scouting locations for Episode 204, three different warehouses, when Norman suggested we squeeze in a forest stopover.  It seemed like a good idea at the time and when, after a cursory stroll through one area, Ron had suggested we check out another area “just a short walk down”, I’d thought “Why not?”.  In retrospect: “Because it’s cold and dangerous, you fool!”

Norman, our fearless leader, stepped off the path and pointed off in the distance. “There’s the parking lot.”  Sure enough, there it was, our final destination, less than fifty yards away.  And the only thing standing between us and sweet, sweet heat was a treacherously steep forty foot mud-covered slope down, an equally treacherous, equally steep forty foot mud-covered slope up – and the frozen river in between.

“We can always go back,”Ron offered, almost plaintively.  Elliot seemed to be in full support, throwing me a look that said: “Please?”  I turned to gauge Norman but, by way of a response, the wiry Englishman was already heading down the slope, crouched low, like a seasoned wrestler poised for battle .  Brandon, like any good 1st AD, was blindly following his line producer’s lead, arms stretched out for extra balance – or, presumably, to help break his inevitable fall.

I watched their descent, fully prepared to turn and run back the way we came for medical assistance the second one of them toppled – but when they reached the halfway point, I was forced to reconsider.  I glanced back at Ron and Elliot who were, clearly, not convinced, then decided “What the hell” and followed.  Arms out for balance, keeping my center of gravity low, I negotiated the slippery moss-covered rocks and followed them down, ever so thankful I’d decided to switch over to my winter boots that morning.

It was touch and go, but – amazingly – we all made it to the bottom without losing our footing.  Then, we crossed the frozen river.  Norman sat on a fallen tree and sort of scooched his way along to the other side,  Brandon, Elliot, and I jumped for our lives –

January 26, 2016: A Walk (descent, Jump, And Climb) In The Woods!
Yours truly in mid-flight (photo courtesy of Ron Murphy)

While Ron walked an impromptu bridge.

January 26, 2016: A Walk (descent, Jump, And Climb) In The Woods!
Careful…(courtesy of Elliot Sokolsky)
January 26, 2016: A Walk (descent, Jump, And Climb) In The Woods!
Careful!!! (courtesy of Elliot Sokolosky)

After down and over, there was nowhere to go but up!

January 26, 2016: A Walk (descent, Jump, And Climb) In The Woods!
I like to call this a Deliverance selfie (courtesy of Norman Denver)

The ascent was only slightly less perilous thanks to the handy saplings lining the slope, perfect for support and balance –

January 26, 2016: A Walk (descent, Jump, And Climb) In The Woods!
So long, suckers! (courtesy of Brandon Tataryn)

– but hazardous when they become uprooted while using them to pull yourself up…as was Norman’s experience.

I’m happy to report we all made it back to the parking lot – and, subsequently, back from our first location scout uninjured.  Hard to believe.

So as not to tempt fate, I think I’ll skip tomorrow’s “seedy bar” tech survey.

January 26, 2016: A Walk (descent, Jump, And Climb) In The Woods!

23 thoughts on “January 26, 2016: A walk (descent, jump, and climb) in the woods!

  1. Hahaha! That was a great adventure!
    I was right there with you, Joe, safely sitting on my sofa! 😁
    Pleeze go to the ‘seedy bar’ tech survey …. pretty please?!

  2. Joe, I see you crossing that little ice patch, but where’s the river? 😉

    I really need to take you on a hike on the trail that I help maintain, the Fundy Footpath. The ascents/descents are about 200-300m elevation change each way, with sometimes a 10m wide river to ford at the bottom. It’s fun! Really! 🙂

    Seriously, that sounds like a wonderful day outside to me. I wish I had to do it as part of my job!

  3. If you’re looking for terrain that says “hiding a still from the revenuers”, you found it.

  4. Next time Joe, take a stuntman to sub for you. I couldn’t even watch that clip. You could have broken a leg or torn some knee ligaments and it would have been all over man!

  5. “Boy, you sure do got a purty mouth!” I’m glad there were no banjos in that selfie. Nice location. Looks like a good place for a clandestine meeting or an ambush! Leave the canoes at home.

  6. Oh please tell me someone got this on video and it will be included in the behind the scenes feature on the blu-ray release. Sounds like you had a fun day.

  7. Adding stunts to your resume of knowledge skills and accomplishments!
    BE careful dude…we need you in one piece.

  8. I’m sure that the creek will turn into a raging river in the spring. You must have felt like a Voyageur, sans canoe. It looked like fun.

  9. You know that “pain” you had been complaining about months ago, don’t be surprised if it starts up again. #JustSaying

    hmm… Late afternoon, no hats, probably no water or munchies either, let alone a working Zippo, wasting precious battery power on future “SURVIVOR” audition-dvd… Seriously, I’m surprised that you weren’t attacked by any “ROCKY”-Wannabees, or off-season G.o.T. RAVEN extras! Not to mention, The BEAVER responsible for the fallen tree-bridges and dried-up “STREAM”-bed.

  10. I realize Lou Anders and others, including myself, have expressed as much before, Joe. Albeit, Never doubt the award winning book author is alive and well within you. I was all at once immersed, enchanted and undeniably glued to the page reading your poetic conveyance and regalement of the day’s adventure.

    (Seriously! -> I was literally glued to the touch screen via the fast drying rubber cement I clumsily allowed to get comfortable on my finger tips from the small repair project I had been working on moments before.)

    Very happy and relieved to hear everyone managed to make it back to safer ground without injury.

    As for me, I am a wee bit nervous about my Feb 12th meeting with the new editor for the upcoming biography project. Not at all sure I shall emerge from it equally unscathed.

  11. By the way Mr Tarzan of the jungle: I had no idea you were such a huge fan of literalness.
    When I commented yesterday “So there i was poised on the precipice of preposterousness when along came charging Joe!! -Who leapt right off the edge” I was “NOT!” suggesting you should physically jump off a steep cliff.
    However, now that you have revealed your most profound desire and natural talent for romping across forests, conquering dangerous slopes and leaping off cliffs, Should you and Akemi ever find yourselves in Colorado I’ll be sure to give you the grand tour of my awe inspiringly beautiful forest home. Then afterwards we can all go hang gliding off Look Out mountain and finish the day with a lovely gentle hike up to the 14,440 ft peak of Mt Elbert. 😀

  12. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Oh, that was a good show and tell Joe! Thanks for the images and video – wow!
    Viewing this was a nice break away from my boring work today. So glad no one went down. If you chose to use this location “in the woods”, how would you get all of the camera, lighting, cables, etc. in there?

    I have to agree with Ganymede about your mysterious “pain” returning after that romp. Do please take care! Dress warmly and always have a water bottle at hand.

    (returning to the fulfilling and interesting work… not)

  13. So glad that you didn’t fall on your face at the end of that jump, :-O and that everyone arrived safely.

  14. Were you guys recreating The Grey? If so it was wise to stick close to Norman, at least until Liam Neeson showed up.

    I’ve learned from Disney that forests like those are full of wolves, Princes on Horseback and bears, so I’m glad you left the stragglers behind to distract the bears and princes while you escaped.

    That leap onto icy water could have gone so very wrong, so glad you guys made it out intact.

    Finished Occupied last night, so good.

  15. That Deliverance picture? YES I got the same vibe. I loved the slow-mo jump. It made you look like the $6 Million Dollar Man. Please know I was doing the sound effects for that while I saw the jumps. Hope you guys got back safely with no injuries.

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