8.11: Part One
concentrated on guiding his bike over the rough trail,
weaving around holes and tree roots. Sam followed his
Dad’s lead, enjoying the warmth of the September
sun on his back.
They pulled up in a clearing and Sam turned off his engine,
listening to the stream and the birdsong.
“It’s really beautiful here.” He turned,
seeing the potential for some fantastic photographs in
the wilderness around them.
MacGyver pulled off his helmet and ruffled his unruly
hair. Hanging the helmet on the handlebars, he stepped
off the bike and looked around, breathing in the pine
“Sure is. Pete was right – I do like Oregon.”
“Remind you of home?” MacGyver started, unloading
his gear from the back of his bike.
“A little.” He dropped a heavy bag and a bedroll
on the grass. “Where do you want to pitch camp?”
“Over here.” Sam took another look around
and then turned his attention to his own luggage. “Out
from under the trees but not too close to the water. OK
with you, Dad?” MacGyver nodded, unrolling his tent.
He hadn’t been camping for a while and was looking
forward to it. A vacation was just what he needed after
dealing with bombs, runaway cars and, once again, Sam
getting caught up in the kind of danger MacGyver wished
he could protect him from. When Sam had expressed an interest
in photographing up in the Northwest, it had seemed like
an ideal opportunity for a road trip together. He hammered
in the last tent peg and stood up, shaking the stiffness
out of his hand.
* * *
nightfall, they were sitting beside a crackling campfire
and watching their stew bubble. MacGyver leaned forward
to stir it and, as his t-shirt sleeve rode up, the firelight
caught on an old scar. “I never noticed that before.”
MacGyver looked up, following Sam’s gaze.
“Oh. Yeah…” He tugged his sleeve down
as he sat back. “Little souvenir from Murdoc.”
He stared at the fire, lost in thought.
“What happened?” Sam leaned forwards, picking
up a spoon.
“What do you know about Murdoc, Sam?” MacGyver
sighed, poking at the fire with a stick.
“Well,” Sam dipped the spoon into the pot
and tasted the stew, moving it to the edge of the fire.
“I know he’s equal parts crazy and clever
and that he’s really fascinated with you. Other
than that, not much.”
“He’s crazy alright, though I don’t
think he’s as crazy as he used to be. He’s
also got nine lives like a cat, far as I can tell, ‘cause
he’s survived stuff that would have killed your
ordinary man. This,” MacGyver indicated the scar,
“Is the result of Murdoc trying to kill me halfway
up a cliff face. He slashed at me with a knife, but then
he ended up falling off the cliff himself.” He shook
his head and helped himself to the stew. “Fall would
have killed anyone else.” He looked into the fire
again, his expression suddenly sad.
“So how did he survive? Sam frowned, wondering what
memories the story had stirred. “How high up were
“High enough.” MacGyver ate a bite of stew.
“I don’t know how he survived the fall. He
was pretty messed up, though – he didn’t surface
for a while after that and he was in bad shape even then.”
Sam finished his bowl and dug into the pot for seconds.
“You know, this is pretty good to say it’s
vegetarian!” MacGyver shot him an amused glance.
Sam grinned back around a mouthful of stew. “I hope
Murdoc’s learned his lesson, Dad, the last thing
we need is a knife wielding maniac on the loose when we
go climbing Williamson Cliffs tomorrow!”
“I think we’re pretty safe. Last time I saw
Murdoc, he was kind of on my side.” MacGyver grinned,
shaking his head. “Still trying to work that one
“The bomb thing?” Sam stood up and stretched.
“The bomb thing.” MacGyver leaned back against
a boulder and looked up at the star-filled sky.
“Well, I’m gonna turn in, Dad. Don’t
stay up all night stargazing, will you? Can’t have
you falling asleep halfway up tomorrow and ‘doing
a Murdoc’ off the cliff!” He stooped and gave
his father a hug, then walked across the clearing to his
MacGyver put more wood on the fire and settled back against
the boulder, watching the flames. The warm light glowed
on the empty pots, on the climbing gear heaped nearby
and on MacGyver, staring into the fire and seeing memories
there of another climbing trip, another fall. His hand
strayed to the scar on his arm and he sighed.
* * *
MacGyver was up with the dawn, and by the time Sam crawled
out of his tent, he had breakfast frying and coffee boiling.
Sam looked blearily at the array of climbing gear MacGyver
was packing into his rucksack, then up at his father’s
cheery grin and disappeared back into his tent with a
mug of coffee. MacGyver watched him go, shaking his head.
“You’re just like your Mom, Sam, she wasn’t
a morning person either!” Sam muttered something
MacGyver didn’t catch and zipped the tent door shut
The morning was beautiful, with blue sky and sun that
promised to be warm later on. MacGyver had slept well
and felt ready for anything, though he had woken suddenly
in the small hours. The campsite had been eerily silent,
but the pots they’d left stacked up had been tumbled
over. Some nocturnal animal, perhaps. MacGyver had looked
for tracks, curious about their night-time visitor, but
Half an hour later, Sam joined him. This time he looked
much more his usual self. He grinned down at MacGyver
and refilled his mug.
“Ahh… The power of coffee!” He sat down,
savouring the smell. “So, Dad – what’s
MacGyver finished folding the map he’d been studying
and zipped it into his bag.
“Well, Williamson Cliffs are about a half an hour
from here. I say we pack up and head off pretty soon,
so we get as much time there as possible. You should get
some good pictures of the cliffs, they’re spectacular.
And there are a lot of Native American sites in the area
Sam nodded, swallowing coffee.
“Any places we shouldn’t go? Some of this
area’s pretty special to the local tribes, I know.”
“Yeah.” MacGyver leaned back, stretching his
arm and rubbing his hand. “We shouldn’t upset
anyone if we stay on the main trails, though this whole
area’s a bit of a sensitive subject right now.”
He flexed his fingers thoughtfully. “I think the
whole of Williamson Cliffs will get shut down and given
back to the tribes eventually.”
“I guess I should get my pictures while I can, then.”
Sam went to the stream to rinse out his mug, wrinkled
his nose at how gritty the water seemed this morning and
set about packing his gear.
Leaving no sign at the campsite that they’d been
there, MacGyver and Sam rode carefully back through the
woods. As they rode, all the birds flew up at once, squawking
and flapping out of the trees. Sam glanced up, momentarily
spooked, but almost immediately caught his front wheel
on a rock and had to fight for control of his bike. By
the time he’d got back on track, everything was
still and calm again.