After our friends have gone home, I head out into the darkness to put our tools away. Outside, the cleanup operation is quickly cut short when I survey the back of our truck. We're just four little screws away from fresh mountain water—with so little left to do, I can't resist finishing the job now. The embers from our campfire provide enough light to see by, and it's not long before I have the lever arm attached to the pump head.
Before anything exciting happens, I run to the camper to grab Tara. She still thinks I'm still putting the tools away! With a little prodding, she bundles up and joins me by the wellhead, and we start pumping. Both of us are giddy with excitement. Will it work? What will the water be like if it does? Nice and clear? Black and gunky? Will it smell horribly of sulfur? We have no idea.
I've been cranking for some time when suddenly, the lever seizes up. Immediately jumping to conclusions, I'm crestfallen and convinced that we've burned up the pump cylinder. Our well is probably dry and we've been pumping air, not water. Feeling like a failure, I picture us spending the next day pulling all of the drop pipes back out of the well so we can call in someone who knows what they are doing. After I've tortured myself for a few minutes, I decide "the hell with it", and try to force it a bit.
It takes a considerable amount of effort to throw the lever any further, and each movement is accompanied by a sickening creak . And then, just as suddenly as the lever bound up, it breaks free. With a triumphant sploosh, a gurgle of crystal clear water comes flying out of the pump head! Every subsequent pump is easy, and water keeps churning out.
We did it!
Note from the future: the water is great!