|This barn and those chickens south of Ceylon look innocent, but are they? Photo by Janelle Catherwood.|
Barn hunting is not for the weak of heart. When I first set out on this perilous quest just a few short weeks ago, I knew I would face many dangers, that I might have to risk life and limb to hunt down all the surviving barns in the R.M.s of the Gap and Laurier. Now that I've battled my way through some risky situations, I thought I'd share some of my wisdom, so that would-be barn hunters know the risks of this hazardous, yet highly admirable, task.
1. The wilderness
I have mentioned before that a true barn hunter will not be dissuaded by seemingly impassable roads. Abandoned homesteads sometimes harbour long lost barns. However, sometimes these "roads" peter out in the middle of trackless wastes with nary a barn in sight, and nothing for it but to carefully turn around and bounce back down the trail whence you came.
|While picturesque, I wouldn't want to be stranded in these environs.|
|These cows quickly dispelled any delusions of grandeur we may had with their unimpressed stares.|
2. Creepy crawlies and slithering things
Spiders and barns go together like Buick Le Sabres and speed; that is to say, they go together very well. Fortunately I'm not too afraid of spiders, but some of the webs they weave in barns are truly daunting, so arachnophobes beware.
|Stacy courageously strikes forth despite the giant spider's web in front of her and the straw teeming with who-knows-what below her.|
|This one's for you, Meghann.|
3. Wells. While investigating an addition to the barn we're currently measuring, Stacy ventured inside the dilapidated building to take a measurement. Upon discovery of a large hole in the ground, she quickly vacated the premises. We were both obviously relieved that this episode can be filed under "near-miss."
|Probably best to leave the loft alone.|
5. Data loss
Perhaps the greatest threat of all is the loss of precious data, whether that be tea spilled on a drawing (this almost happened when a gust of wind knocked over my thermos in the vicinity of the drawing board), a marked R.M. map eaten by sparrows (this hasn't happened yet, but I'm on guard against it), or a camera memory card that suddenly and inexplicably loses photos, probably due to some bumbling but inadvertent mistake of the barn hunter. This is highly dangerous, not to the physical well-being of a barn hunter, but to her psychological wellness. Barn hunters tend to exist in a fragile state of mental health, and the loss of data is more than enough to tip the scales to full-blown mental breakdown. To preserve the few threads of sanity remaining to her, the recent loss of several dozen photos will not be discussed in this blog post, or possibly in any blog post to follow.
This list is partial and ongoing. There are plenty of other dangers inherent to barn hunting that have not yet been experienced firsthand. Barn hunting is only for the brave, the reckless, and/or the stupid. I'm still trying to decide which group I belong to.
|Danger lurks everywhere for the barn hunter.|