Finding the tent and camping supplies was a life saver for Dave Ripley and he knew he could survive on this for a while. He also knew however that at some point in time he would have to find a place to live that would sustain him for the long term. This is where his survival training would really be put to the test. He found a big old log that he spent the next few days hollowing out so that he could use it as a canoe or raft of sorts. There was plenty of branches and tree limbs on his little island and so making some good oars was not a problem. The tent and camping supplies were easy to pack into the canoe that hollowed out well and offered a good amount of space. Just under a week after the quake Dave set out from his little island, a little better off and in search of a sustainable life for himself. There was really no planned course for his travels and so he paddled through waters both deep and shallow. There was a few times that he had to drag or carry his canoe due to large amounts of debris that hindered his passing. He finally neared a place where he could see what looked like a large wall that Dave knew before the quake was a mountain. After managing to get around a few rocks he passed by the wall and entered what was now a lovely green valley. This area seemed to be mostly untouched by the quake and he could see an old cabin near the other side. The water did not go up to the cabin and so Dave pulled his canoe well up on shore and began a half mile walk towards the building. He was not even fifty yards on his way when he noticed steam rising from a crack in the ground with a little pool of water around it. This did not bother him and so he had just started to skirt around it when a huge explosion of water blasted straight up in the air raining down all around leaving a smell of sulphur. It appeared that this valley was not only lavish and green with a cabin but it also had a sulphur hot spring bath in it as well.
Kevin Cross awoke to his head throbbing and a feeling of floating. One look around told him that he actually was on a raft of sorts that was tilted to one side and was gradually filling with dirty water. The next one of his senses to come alive was his smell and it hit him like a fifty pound jack hammer and nearly made him heave. The smell of rotting flesh, dirt mixed with water and the smell of some sort of gas that still spewed up here and there from the muck and water. The sun was just about gone but it had pounded down on him for a couple of hours. The earth had finally stopped shaking but California as far as he could see was no more. All one could see was salt water and things floating in it and other than that there was complete silence. Kevin did not need to be told that his family and friends were dead and thought of this brought a swelling to his parched throat and tears came to his eyes. His tongue felt large and dry from the dehydration he was now suffering from. Moving now to the middle of the raft he was able to stand up to get an even better look around but saw nothing that would give the poor youngster any hope. Just as he strained one more time for a final tip toed look a large shadow and swishing noise passed over him and something large crashed into the water beside the raft knocking him into the water, scaring the living daylights out of him and almost causing him to crap his pants.
Abe Yoder paddled down the small yet rushing river for what seemed to be forever and when he was not paddling he would put the oar over himself and sleep. The young man was very physically and emotionally drained to say the least and so when he did sleep it was deeply and for extended periods of time. The Amish youngster had never felt so alone and the severity of his situation was felt more simply because he knew that all of his family and friends were most likely dead. Abe had never known a life outside of this group that referred to themselves as the quiet people of the land, and now here he was floating down a river alone and headed literally to nowhere and a destiny unknown.
” Why God?”, he shouted suddenly through chocked emotion.
“Why have you done such a thing to me, how could you let such things happen to your people”?
He then thought on the teachings about the old testament prophet Elijah who asked God to kill him when the Queen was pursuing him to have him killed. God had reminded him that even though he thought he was alone that there were thousands of Gods people left in that land. Abe wondered if there was even one other person left in the entire world.
The smaller river soon reached a point where it met a larger one that moved and surged swelling with all kind of debris and so he held up at the fork and upon finding what seemed to be solid and safe ground he hesitantly came ashore. The earth had ceased its shaking some hours ago but gas still shot into the air here and there making Abe remain somewhat uneasy. The sun was setting and he had no idea how long he had been on the river but his aching backside seemed to tell the story. He managed to gather dried leaves and wood for a fire and had just got it going when he heard the horse blow and stomp.
It had been a couple of days now since the entire world had rumbled and broken apart, spewing gas and other such things into the air and leaving not so much as a shadow of former things in it’s wake. Dave Ripley now lay on what he thought may well be a small bit of what remained of the entire world. He had swam with all of his might after plunging off of the mountain side into the lake and seeing the mountain peak plummeting towards him. He had swam in many a competition in previous years but never like he did with rock and such crashing into the water around him causing a huge downward pull in the small lake. At one point he had reached what seemed to be all the fish in the lake swirling in a circle of crazed confusion and had been bruised all over his body by many of the larger ones that had slammed into him in their haste. Then there was the terrible site as he came up for breath and looked towards the shoreline in time to hear an eerie shriek as three female deer ran along the bank on fire in desperate search for relief from their agony. Such sites and sounds would never be forgotten by this young man and he tried now to push them from his mind as he sat beneath the remains of an old tree on an island surrounded by the lake and ruined upheaved and flooded land. Gas still spewed into the air afar off here and there but other than that there was nothing but silence, an eerie silence that seemed to put his very soul into a state of mourning. Dave tried to clear his head and shake the feeling by staggering around to gather wood for a fire. He had swam clean up onto this place by accident and a quick look around had told him that there was really no where else to go. One night shivering under the stars was no fun for the young man but by the end of the second day he was rewarded for his troubles when he came upon the abandoned tent with food and camping supplies.