AppleGate - Farragut I.LE.R
This is a long walk or bicycle ride – 2.5 miles (guesstimate) there and 2.5 miles back. All of this can be done on a bicycle except for a short part where it is best to push the bike. This may be a good trail for those who like to jog. Plan on at least 90 minutes to find the box. 1533 words.
Water to drink
Your letterboxing book
Your letterboxing stamp
Your stamp ink
Bicycle if you have one (not necessary)
Pen and note paper
Highlighter to track the progress of your clues
What is there:
Only one box
The I.LE.R stamp
Book for your comments and stamp
Satisfaction of a job well done
Where it is:
Southeastern USA, East Tennessee, West Knoxville, Farragut, just off the interstate (I-40 / I-75). Take the Campbell Station exit (exit #373) and head south towards Kingston Pike but go slow as you'll need to pull off and park, on the west side of the road, a short distance after the interstate near a package (liquor) store.
Please note your start time and lets begin...
09 September 2001.
Mary-Beth had never been very confident but now she was fearful. She refused to go back. She would not say why, but she acted traumatized. In her mind, shadowy images replayed out dreadful scenes from a dreadful evening when her simple life touched upon the sinister truth of what may become.
On his way back from work at Oakridge Dr. Gavrik drove past the Holiday Inn and the Baymont, and saw the Cracker Barrel where he likes to take his kids after church. He stopped at the liquor store on Campbell Station road, not far from the I-40/75 exit. It had been quite a day, a day to rattle even the nerves of this former ‘green beret’. At work he spent a great deal of time on the classified internet, faithfully doing the energy work of the government. Sometimes while in the course of his regular duties he stumbles on something ‘top secret’ that is not energy related but just moves on as it usually is neither interesting nor pertinent to his work. Today he found something that made him break into a cold sweat. He lingered just a few minutes on the information – too long perhaps. Nonetheless, he needed a bottle of something to calm his nerves and to think and more importantly; to forget!
Coming out the store he noticed two men in suits. Seeing men in suits in not unusual but these men wore their suits like government uniforms. It may have been his state of heightened anxiety or his years of special training or both but these men gave his a twinge of concern. They had that look, the lean, muscular, over confident look that he used to wear himself. Despite their ‘normal’ outward appearance Gavrik recognized them as being cast from the same mold as he was and he could sense their internal engines at a high rev much like those of ultra-athletes.
“Dangerous men”, he thought, “wonder what they are doing here?”
As he walked past these men he noticed them split and walk in the same direction as him, it was subtle but it seemed as if they were flanking him. Gavrik’s internal alert status jumped into ‘high red’. Gavrik sped up his pace towards his car parked near the KAT shelter. He looked over his shoulder and made eye contact with one of the suits. At that moment the game was up, the suits knew they were compromised.
“Now!” yelled a suit. That caused Gavrik to run but what struck fear in his gut was that it was yelled in Arabic!
Gavrik had learned Arabic at the Special Warfare School in Ft. Bragg, NC and instantly knew that this was serious. Neither suit looked Arabic or even Middle Eastern. He had lingered too long on that sensitive information these men were connected to the ‘Islamic Legion of Revolution’!
Gavrik burst into a sprint but knew he would not be able to escape in his car. He ran past the KAT shelter. A shot rang out and Gavrik felt a sting on his side under his left ribs. He tore into the vegetation and leaped towards the water tripping in mid air on a branch and banging his head on a rock in the water. Rolling onto his back with a groan he saw not stars but lines – eleven lines. He felt his side and dared a glance – only a flesh would but a bleeder.
“No time for that, got to keep going,” he pushed himself up and ran for his life using the 11 lines as his guide.
“Left of right?” He instinctively went under the bridge to hide and to catch his breath. He wept three times, once for his family, once for his country and once for the world. I.LE.R. The suits came and Gavrik could hear them talking in Arabic.
‘You look left and I’ll look right,’ the suits decided.
As soon as they were 50 yards away Gavrik ran on along the lines. The run was hard, he was injured, his muscles ached and he was in shock at this turn of events. His mind pounded out a cadence to keep his feet moving, “follow the lines, I.LE.R, follow the lines, I.LE.R, follow the lines, I.LE.R.” After a what seemed an eternity some clarity returned to his distraught mind, “I’ve got to stop running in an obvious direction”. At the point where 11 became 7 he made his change.
The suits spent only 5 minutes scouting for tracks North and South and came back to look West. At the same time they both saw the wet footprints on the concrete and the drop of blood and without a word or glance they charged after Gavrik.
The symbol of I.LE.R Gavrik had seen that day now burned his vision like the residue effect of a flash bulb and weighed down his soul like a rock. He knew that a poor attitude would be his undoing and took strength in his Southern heritage where his grew up on the edge of a forested area. “This has got to end,” Gavrik thought to himself, “I cannot survive this by staying on the run, I’ve got to got on the offensive.” Loping into woods over deadfall found a spot and lucked on an old tool. He constructed a simple but lethal trap.
Mary-Beth was the cleaning lady for the Church. Churches were good commercial contracts – easy quite and uneventful. Or so she thought. Some movement outside the building in the trees caught her eye. She walked over to the window and saw a man working desperately as if his life depended on it. He was bending down trees and tying and camouflaging. Then, just as dusk was coming, two men came into view. The unmistakable shape of pistols in their practiced hands made her drop down below the window ledge but she could not tear her eyes from the scene. The first man had completed his task and ran noisily towards the road from, the others gave chase but seconds later one of them was impaled on a rack of spikes. Without checking his pace nor a concern for the dying man, the remaining gunman chased on.
Being an old soldier Gavrik automatically started a silent pace count without making a conscious decision to do so. Good soldiers always kept track of their distance and direction. Today the pace count served no real purpose he could fathom but he got to 11603 before he checked himself. His mind had wandered and despite the dire circumstances Gavrik smiled to himself – ‘I wonder if they will call this scandal ‘AppleGate’ for those responsible there will be no way out’. He ran on down the hill past the good people who went about their lives; cleaning their cars and preparing dinner without ever suspecting how precarious that way of life really was. That though and his peaceful mental meanderings was rudely interrupted but another shot that narrowly missed Gavrik but spurred him to another sprint. Keeping a drainage pond on his right he took cover behind some rocks, on his hands and knees he crawled West up the hill alongside a trail. Spotting a tree and plan formed and lacking a better alternative Gavrik clambered up. Taking a huge risk and his life in his hands he waited in high ambush. As the suit passed underneath Gavrik dropped onto him. The agent’s weapon span from his grasp. The men fought, hand to hand with all the skill and determination that years of training and fatal consequences can muster. Rolling, throwing, dragging the fight raged on. The end came suddenly; the fight just left the suit in the swimming pool where he drew his last wet breath. Gavrik stumbled over the fence and collapsed onto a bench. He was wounded and fatigued but he was alive! He went on.
At a large willow Gavrik stopped to slack his thirst and then staggered on unaware that in the falling shadows another person followed him. The other pursuer had followed since the west woodchase. Gavrik went left, to his home and into obscurity. Confident that the survivor would be OK Mary-Beth continued on between the long faded cheers of sports fans. Shortly after the last sport cheer could be heard, at her lowest point she stopped to rest on a bench and ponder. ‘140 by 40’, she said aloud so that she would not forget and there she cached her find, too dangerous to keep on her person. Like her employer, Gavrik, she too knew the importance of direction and distance.
Record your total trail time in the book.
Leave your mark using your stamp followed by any comments.
Please comment on the following:
Was the course challenging?
What percentage of the clues (approx) did you find on the first attempt?
Did you use a bicycle? How was that experience?
How many people were in your group?
What did you think of the story line?
Please replace all the contents into the box.
Please ensure that it is once again weather proof and completely conceal it from sight in its original position so that another may enjoy this trail.