Guam High Point Adventure
Guam: Mt. Lamlam is 1334 ft.
Mt. Lamlam overlooks the Marianas Trench to the east, a point over 37,800 feet lower. Mt. Lamlam is a peak in a long submerged mountain range extending from Japan to New Guinea. Lamlam is the native Chamorro word for lightning.
In mid 1966, while stationed on Guam (VAP61 at NAS Agaña), I motorcycled over the summit, Mt. Lamlam, and was shot at. Six years later, in January 1972, the last surviving Japanese soldier from WWII, Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi, came out of the jungle with a rusty, non-functional rifle. Maybe Yokoi-san shot at me, but I think it might have been the land owner. Still, I might have become the last casualty of WWII.
In the Navy, if we gave blood, we got the rest of the day off. It was called 'vampire liberty'. So, I gave blood, and in the afternoon, I chose to summit Guam's highest point, Mt. Lamlam. My new Honda 160 was ready. This was another solo trip, as many of my adventures are.
There was an annual motorcycle race across Mt. Lamlam, so I knew there was a trail. I think the trail crossed private property. From Hwy 2 on the map below, between Agat and Umatac, I opened (and closed) a gate and proceeded up the trail. Near the summit, I was having a hard time, spinning out and slipping. I noticed a rock kick up beside me. It aroused my suspicion. When the next shot kicked up gravel in front of me, I knew what it was. I immediately jumped off the bike, and ran along side of it the rest of the way to the top. Just before I went over the summit, I looked back, but all I could see was jungle. I did not linger.
Immediately after the summit, there was a razor-back ridge across to another lower summit. It looked like it might have been just barely wide enough for an old jeep, but it was too narrow for me to ride across. I walked the bike across. Both sides of the ridge dropped down sharply, but the right side (south) dropped the most. Seemed like 1000 ft straight down. At the bottom, I could see coconut trees, and a little further away, the ocean. The vista both ways was just beautiful. After the next peak, the trail gradually descended over a few miles, and ended near Inarajan.
Just before the gate to exit the trail, there was a man-trap pit in the trail, about 5 ft by 5 ft by 5 ft deep. I could not stop in time and tried to steer around the right side, but I fell in and the motor cycle landed on top of me. I turned off the engine and took inventory. I was thankful there were no pointed stakes in the bottom of the pit. I was pinned under the motorcycle and couldn't move. The exhaust pipe was burning the side of my lower leg. I called out for help, but of course there was no one around to hear. Also, being down in a pit, my voice would only go up. The motorcycle was settling down lower, and the smell of burned flesh was strong. Finally, when the pain became intolerable, I decided I didn't want to die in a hole, cooked under a Honda. I found the strength to lift the motorcycle up over me, out of the hole, and then I crawled out. I know I drank a beer or two that night. I still have a little 'Honda-rash' on my right calf.
There were many other adventures on Guam and at other places I was stationed. Some, I still cannot tell. The stories that I can tell are like fine red wine and, like many Navy sea stories, seem to improve with time. The night after I wrote this, I recalled (or had flashbacks of) many other Navy experiences, some very good and some that will probably not ever improve.
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Dale Stenseth. All rights reserved.
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