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Chased by Dragons

Chased by Dragons

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Published by Larry Jacobson
Chased by Komodo Dragons
from the book, The Boy Behind the Gate
http://theboybehindthegate.com
Chased by Komodo Dragons
from the book, The Boy Behind the Gate
http://theboybehindthegate.com

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Published by: Larry Jacobson on Aug 08, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/07/2010

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Chased By DragonsI have always been fascinated with Komodo dragons and was excited about seeing themup close and in the wild. While Ken agreed they would be interesting to see, he thought viewingtheir habits from a distance would be just fine. Turns out—he was right
.
We were finishing our hike and had reached the narrowest part of the trail when we encountered our very own sci-fimoment: face-to-face with scaly dark green creatures about 10 feet in length, two feet in girth,mouths hanging open exposing their razor sharp teeth, and yellow-forked tongues darting in andout with each claw-footed step. One was drooling with what might have been part of a chickenhanging out of its mouth. Our hearts skipping a couple of beats, the only available choices camenaturally: fight or flight. Not wanting to face off with, or be lunch for, the dragons, we turnedwithout hesitation and started walking briskly back toward the park headquarters. Where was thebrave ranger now who just concluded our tour?But, after a few seconds of speed walking while taking brief looks over our shoulders, thedragons suddenly started to break into a run up the trail straight for us. Don’t be fooled. Likecumbersome-looking crocodiles, Komodo dragons can accelerate to 15 miles an hour from deadrest; much faster than our sea legs could carry us. What to do? Throw rocks? Shout? Wave our arms? Are you kidding? These things are huge and take down horses and water buffalo withease. Besides, they probably already thought we looked like overgrown chickens. We learnedfrom the park ranger that Komodo dragons not only have razor sharp teeth, they use poisonousvenom to kill their prey. With this fresh knowledge we ran back up the trail, but they picked upspeed. I shouted to Ken: “Go, go,
go!” 
I have never seen Ken run so fast before.A steep ravine abutted one side of the narrow trail with a hundred foot drop so that wasout, but the uphill side had just enough of a break in the vertical rock wall, on a 70 degree angle,to give us a reasonable fighting chance. The dragons were gaining on us and with only 50 feetleft between them and what they saw as take-out, we turned to the rock wall and scrambled,climbing, grasping for any rock, root, or piece of grass that would hold us. At times, motivation isa good thing. Somehow, with only bare hands and sandals, we clawed our way ten feet up thecliff just as the dragons arrived on the trail beneath us. While we were clinging to the cliff side,

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