Author Topic: Mike Boon  (Read 21586 times)

Offline richardg

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #50 on: May 28, 2015, 08:30:32 pm »
Thank you for posting these Tony and Bill for recording them....

Richard  :beer2:

Offline ianball11

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #51 on: May 29, 2015, 12:18:30 am »
Great stuff.

Offline Dolly

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #52 on: June 10, 2015, 07:22:16 pm »
Mike’s Farewell.

17th May, 2015.
The day had finally arrived. Donny & Daryl set off early so they could arrange everything before the gang of hungover cavers arrived; John and I luxuriated in their shower. We didn’t make it back to camp so Donny & Daryl kindly gave us one of their beds in the Chateau Jasper. We had hot coffee, buns and even watched the telly for a short while.
We arrived by the Maligne River at about 10.30am, Mike’s farewell was to begin at 11.00 prompt. The day was sunny, although quite crisp, and the mountains were clear. Lots of speakers took their turn in entertaining us with Mike’s escapades around the globe. This confirmed all my personal feelings and experience of Mike… laughter and tears were exchanged in equal measure.
We each took a handful of Mike’s ashes and tossed them into the Maligne River, where he’d spent many a happy hour doing dangerous stunts….but that was Boon! My ashes fought back and left a covering on my new jacket. I also had trouble getting the grit out of my long nails, so I expect I’ll always have a bit of Mike in my left pocket.
We drank whisky, hot coffee; ate cranberry muffins, chocolates and enjoyed our time together. I even managed to get sell some of my books... as we sat on the riverbank, enjoying our last moments together, I noticed an eagle which kept soaring above. I also noticed lots of chipmunks, cheekily playing close by.
I began to think of Mike’s Buddhism – I thought of the eagle with its sharp eyes staring down on us. It looked so proud, strong and brave. I looked at the chipmunks, they with their cheeky little faces, watching us from a distance; it was then that it occurred to me that the eagle and the chipmunks both portrayed aspects of Mike Boon, our friend, caving legend; benefactor of people less fortunate and thoroughly nice guy.  :kiss2:

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #53 on: September 28, 2015, 12:44:52 pm »

Offline andychapm

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #54 on: September 28, 2015, 02:39:01 pm »
Hi,
I recorded these interviews with various American cavers about Mike Boon and his time in Mexico whilst on expedition earlier this year. Hope you enjoy them :).


(Mark Minton talking about the San Agustin rescue)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DX68xghm-kc&feature=youtu.be
(Ernie Garza)


(Bill Steele talking about Mike Boon in Yochib and also about the PESH expedition)


(Jim Smith talking about Mike Boon in Yochib)



Online T pot 2

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #55 on: September 28, 2015, 08:30:14 pm »
Pegasus
Thank you so much for posting Mikes u tube link. I spent time with him in is later years and enjoyed his humour, his candidness, his friendship and most of all his being what he was. I sadly miss the guy.


T

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #56 on: February 22, 2016, 11:37:14 am »

Offline garethjdavies

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #57 on: March 01, 2016, 02:55:37 pm »
As some of you will know I too spent time caving with Mike in Chiapas, and Cuetzalan, Mexico.  I first met Mike in Denver, CO at Norm Pace's house (1976).  A US caver, Wil Howie, and I were on a caving/hiking/climbing tour of the US west when we heard of a caving trip to Yo Chib when  we stayed at Norm's house.  Mike was clad in his usual (I came to realize) set of anyone's discarded clothes, with a pair of RD Super Guide mountaineering boots but, with the soles worn out,  flapping loose at the front, no laces etc.  We went to a McDonalds and got a Big Mac (my first) apiece and then returned to Norm's house to hear about Yo Chib; on hearing of Mike's passing, I had my second ever Big Mac).  The dire nature of the Yo Chib cave was emphasized, but Mike was a very persuasive person and convinced us to join the expedition.  Later he was separating me and coaching me to join the British/Canadian contingent (him and Wes Davis) and his plans at Martine's houses not Yo Chib (one of only a few in the village) over beer, that of course I bought (actually gladly, 1 peso each or something).... My Mike Boon recollections of that are...

We arrived at the Yo Chib campsite.  Mike had travelled down with Wes ("weasel") Davis in a Toyota Estate Car - that I'm sure belonged to Wes.  They had a rather eventful trip where they, in a thick fog, had driven into the back of a cow, which "buggered up the headlights."  This meant the police saw them sans lights in Mexico City, where (the starter was a bit dodgy) they had to push run and start the car to avoid (or escape) the fine by the police...... Later this car carried on Mike's tradition of resourceful living....from Mexico City to Austin, TX, the last part of my writing here.

This of course was all typical Mike, he conned a friend to drive him to Mexico so Mike could go caving.  Mike, being the person he was, had a suspicious nature (about some of the US contingent) and often told me this when he dragged me to Yo Chib village for a beer at Martine's.  Anyway I ended up on a trip into the cave with Mike, Wes, and Carmen Soileau - with the aim of extending a phone line to Camp 1 and then Camp 2 so there would be warning system in place in a flood. This would introduce me to the cave....(see Bill Steele's book Yo Chib, The River Cave for all the details).

There was a nice long boulder hopping river entrance passage but a 75 ft waterfall into a lake, at the end, and that was the end of the... introduction.  I had not arranged my gear well, was not exactly positively bouyant and I could have drowned in the lake (2 - 3ft higher waves from the 40 cubic feet/second River hitting it from 75 ft)....I struggled and coughed and spluttered across...Mike yelling at me.

Mike saw my carbide light was out and as I dragged myself up the beach he leaned forward and relit it, screaming at me (the noise made normal speech impossible) " are you f***ing up for this, you can very easily die here?"  He then told me not to clip into any horizontal line, because of the chance of being swept away was high and I would need to not be tied to anything if swept over a waterfall..... I followed Mike's advice except for the time clipping in saved my life...below Bad Dreams...... 

Anyway we reached Camp 1, but before, at Fool's Falls, when I got down that rope, Mike was diving the pool with a mask to look for a gear bag lost earlier in the week, in the hurricane conditions at the bottom. We stopped at camp and dumped food, sleeping bags etc. and then proceeded down Bad Dreams - a set of the most violent and swiftly flowing (really thundering, crashing) falls and rapids, that turns a corkscrew downwards below Camp 1.  The way beyond this was a tyrolean rope across and Boon went across. We were to go as far as Camp 2 (some hammock on a ledge affair) but met Bill Steele and others coming upstream.   Here I witnessed the Mike Boon Mike Van Note finger jabbing incident, that I watched from across the maelstrom, after Wes and I had crossed the tyrolean and returned (we had reasoned Camp II was a futile goal after 12 harrowing hours in a constant Hurricane and Tsunami.  We retreated to Camp 1 (much to my relief, I could not imagine what Camp 2 would have been like....

I heard, later in the trip, Wes had been shopping for souvenirs and Mike got upset that he had spent so much money, Wes's money of course, and if my memory doesn't fail me I heard Mike went back into San Cristobal de Las Casas and sold the souvenirs back. Wes had taken enough abuse and left Mike in San Cristobal de las Casas with no money, but the Toyota, but with an empty gas tank, and dodgy headlights etc.

Mike stayed with France's Mendez a lady Pete Lord? had met and who was friendly to cavers passing through. Apparently to get money to drive back to the US Mike removed a filling in a tooth he had filled there a year ago, and got his money back and a new filling (Mr Resourceful, par excellence).  This enabled Mike to drive as far as Pete Lord's house in Mexico City - where the second part of my association with Mike in Mexico story begins, a year later in Cuetzalan. 

One year later (1977) I was again in Mexico, with Jim Eyre, Wil Howie and John Sevenair enroute to do Sotano de las Golondrinas, El Sotano del Barro and some exploration in Cuetzalan.  Mike was already at the house near Greengates School  (Pete Lord and Cathy Pryce-Jones, lived there) - and he was living entirely on black beans and tortillas.... We arrived brought beer, and all went shopping  for a slap up nosh, T-Bone steak, chips, which Mike loved of course....If I remember, Mike indulged in Cana + Tang powder to the point of sleeping on the stone stair case.

We heard that only Cathy and someone else was there when he arrived unannounced and they mistook Mike for the local dustman, (trash collector) and tried to shoo him away.

Whatever, we loaded into Wil Howie's van and set off for Cuetzalan.  Mike rode with us, and en route we stopped for gas and a toilet break, but there were no conveniences. Mike grabbed a toilet roll and walked some (short) distance away from the gas station, and proceeded to have a crap under a lone tree. Jim Eyre and I thought this was pretty funny - what a silouette against a cloudy sky, but Wil and John were pretty amazed.....

The house at Cuetzalan (Casa Carmen) became home and soon we were joined by a huge group of McMaster University cavers (all packed in one van), Marge Saul, Chas Younge, and cavers from all over the US, Norm Pace, Joe Liebertz, and Pete Lord and Cathy from Greengates/Mexico City, and Mike Colishaw. (Norm Pace told me when he arrived Mike was warming a candle on the gas stove to use as temporary treatment for his hemorrhoids)...   

So, an epic trip was organized into Sumidero Atepolituit and we all made camp in a great chamber on a huge sandy beach next to the roaring river (about 12 people, lots of McMaster Univercity cavers).  Chas being well organized fed us and off we went in three parties, two to go deep and Chas to look at some prospects, with the less experienced cavers, above a technical obstacle called the Black Cleft, below which the whole river for a short section, assumed Yo Chib like characteristics. 

This is written up in Jim Eyre's book The Cave Explorers.  Several kilometers downstream Marge Saul and I found a passage (that I think later connected to Chichicasapan) while Mike and company went even further downstream. We met back at a huge mud bank at the junction and Mike said we should get the stove out and eat. He told me to go over to the wall of the passage and dig up a tin of baked beans he buried in a sand bank there two years ago...

I was as hungry as the rest, and there was this large (UK large) tin of beans, which looked a bit new... And was buried in disturbed sand. Whatever we ate and enjoyed them (a couple of spoonfuls apiece).  After a very long trip back upstream we got our lesser experienced McMaster group safely back to camp, where Chas was cooking up a meal, muttering, "I know I am missing a tin of baked beans, but I cannot fathom where it is....."

The New Year's celebrations in Mexico are special, and Cuetzalan had a town square do, where there is a high pole with a revolving platform that the locals tie the feet to and spin around unraveling some fabric until they reach the ground, of course Mike climbed to the platform (20 m or so). 

A year passed and Mike wrote to me talking about even bigger river caves in Honduras, and this conversation continued at UMIST and the BCRA meeting.  Mike turned up there, his luggage consisting of two black rubbish bags, one with all his traveling stuff, and another with copies of his book (Down to a Sunless Sea).  His sleeping bag was his Aunty Gladys's discarded eiderdown..., of course.  On Saturday night we were joined by John Frankland and Jim Eyre, had a great curry, and prepared to retire to sleep. I, along with my first wife, Carol, had arranged a place to stay, but I lost the address.... So with Mike and some others, we set up camp on an demolished area next to UMIST.  Carol and I slept in my 1972 Triumph 2000 and Mike slept under the stars in his eiderdown - somebody else pitched a ten near Mike.  The friendly Manchester police came to inspect our little encampment about 3 AM.  They searched the Triumph and then moved to Mike and the tent.  They gently shook Mike in the feet to wake him up and asked who he was and where he was from.  When he said Calgary, Canada, one policeman said "but this is the middle of Manchester" Mike sat up looked around and said, " is it, Good Lord..."  We tried in vain to be serious.  Finally when the policeman shook the tent - the zipper came down and a head emerged to puke at the policeman's feet and then disappear back inside....  They walked off disgusted, shaking their heads, at a loss for words.  Carol and I bought Mike a great big breakfast the next morning and whilst selling his books later than day, when he signed my copy, was the last I saw of him In person.   Later I was reading my copy of his book when I got a letter from Mike saying I never paid him, which I did not, accidentally.  I then realized that I was missing a duvet jacket, and a foam sleeping pad Mike had borrowed that night.  He agreed they were a fair swap for a signed copy of his book.   

Now, there is still one more piece.  The Toyota's fate, + jail time....  Pete Lord, Cathy Pryce-Jones, Mike, and Cathy's mother and I heard this story from Mike in a restaurant in Cuetzalan on New Year's Eve, 1976.  Mike managed to collect enough money (by selling McMaster University Caving gear to local cavers) to drive the Toyota from Mexico City to Austin, TX.  He stayed a while, because Jean Jancowicz was living there.... (See Jim Smith's YouTube video interview about Mike infatuation with Jean).  Jean resisted his advances again and again, and Mike then proceeded to piss off just about every caver (that he could stay with) in Austin.  He went to a pub/bar and got rather forlorn and drunk (someone probably bought him the drinks of course, or he simply went "mine sweeping").  Then some people began singing the US song  (probably prompted by Mike) that has the same tune as our God Save the Queen.  Mike dutifully informed them what the song really was and started a kerfufle and got kicked out of the bar.  While he was sitting lying/sitting on the kerb, a police car came by and stopped; Mike promptly ran away (he said he had no idea why) but got arrested.  He was booked into the local jail. Since he was now to the caving community, missing, Bill Russell (I think) looked for him, and found him, and tried to bail him out. Mike said this upset him greatly, reasoning that they were very nice to him and it was the best accommodation he had experienced in years (lots of free food, a great bed, and all the books he could read). 

The Toyota was bought and thence driven back to Huautla by Gerry Atkinson? Apparently en route near Huautla it collided with a burro.  I believe Gerry gave the car to the Burro owner as compensation.... The owner thought this was excessive compensation and awarded a goat in "change." The owner's daughter was getting married and Gerry (or whoever, I will check) gave the goat as a wedding present...or something like that, it's been a few years. 

I feel very privileged to have caved with Mike, and become his friend.  He was a special person, always very sure of his situation, and very confident he was correct, but often to the suffering of others.  He was a very confident caver, and he left me in awe in that respect, often caving with his carbide lamp in his hand, only to put it on his helmet when necessary.

Gareth
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 03:12:34 pm by garethjdavies »

Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #58 on: March 02, 2016, 02:22:34 pm »
What a fantastic story.  Brings back memories of Mike when he caved on Mendip.

Online Badlad

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #59 on: March 02, 2016, 03:28:09 pm »
A great insight. I also enjoyed reading about Gareth in the Cave Explorers.

Offline mikem

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #60 on: January 24, 2017, 02:10:11 pm »
On Alberta Speleological Society website:
http://www.caving.ab.ca/boon

Mike

Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: Mike Boon
« Reply #61 on: October 04, 2017, 08:18:13 pm »