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Mason County News
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Bat Cave Report
2012 Texas Nature Conservancy Steward
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 • Posted May 23, 2012

Most people have heard it said that lightning does not strike twice in the same spot. I have never personally been struck by lightning once, much less twice, but I can tell you that this last week’s events had every bit the same results as that ominous bolt of electricity blasting a person from the heavens...twice! It all started with the bat mobile having to go into the auto hospital with severe injuries. Parts had to be ordered and were VERY, VERY difficult to find. Strike number one: No bat mobile— no way to get to the preserve!!

I was able to open up on Thursday evening, May 17th as planned with a ride out with my daughter, Jana. Due to the tremendous and wonderful rain that we have experienced for the past three weeks, the Preserve looked like the jungles of Africa. With no bat mobile and almost constant rain, there was no way to prepare for the opening of the Preserve. My faithful sidekick, Jana, accompanied me and watched for visitors while I took on the task of weed eating the trail to the seating area. I thought that perhaps a rhino or elephant would charge out at any moment and I had to work at top speed to get my task done before visitors showed up. Strike #2!!

My mission was accomplished and I rested a few minutes at the seating area to watch the bats emerge for the evening. Although we waited until almost dark, no bats graced us with their presence. Strike #3 NO BATS!!

It was, as I said, getting dark and no visitors had come. Jana and I decided to head back to the parking area so that I could get more of the brush off of the trails on the way back. Somehow, some way, my foot decided to step on a rock that looked sturdy, but proved to be most deceptive. The moist soil from all of the wonderful rain helped that particular rock turn as my full weight (which we won’t discuss) was placed on it. A rock, moist soil, and my total body weight turning sideways created the greatest lightning strike of all!! I don’t know how loud I yelled but there were echoes bouncing back for about ten minutes...listening to them were the only thing that kept me from passing out!! Don’t even try to visualize how Jana got me back to the pickup, or even how long it took to get me there! I think she thought I must be part howler monkey because the sounds that emitted from deep within me never stopped!

So, (and I recently learned that you never should start a sentence with so, and, or other such words...unless you are trying to really make a statement)....SO, that is why if you tried to come out to the Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve on May 18th, 19th or 20th and there was no one there to open the gate and let you in to sit in the dark to watch bats that you could not see after you had trekked up a newly weeded trail, I give only this excuse...LIGHTNING!!!

We do have every intention of opening Thursday, May 24th. Call 325-347-5970 for any updates or other lightning strikes!! See ya at the cave!

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