Day 9
PCT Mile 1208.85 – 1217.19

Miles Hiked 8.5

I slept really well, and the forest was very still when I awoke.

I eased myself down the trail through the snow and delighted in a chorus of frogs singing in a large pond while I gathered clear, cold water.

There was more snow that I thought. More snow and more snow and more snow. I came to a hill which required me to kick steps into the snow to curve around the hillside. That seemed a bit much, so I decided to head down what looked an easier way and cut through the valley instead.

Just because that’s where the trail goes doesn’t mean that’s where you have to walk.

Heading down the hill was more difficult than expected, and I was once again wandering around tree wells and tiny peaks of icy snow in my trail runner shoes.

Then I slipped.

I fell right on my ass and slipped into a tree well. A jarring went up my back.

Idiot! I thought. I shouldn’t be out here alone.

I looked behind me and debated turning around. Probably the best idea.

Maybe just a little further, though, then I would decide.

At the bottom of the valley, it was nice and dirty instead of snowy, and then I realized the trail was waaaaayyyyy up there. So I climbed up a tremendously calf-taxing slope to arrive winded and exultant on the next ridge. On the way down the other side, though…

I slipped again.

Down a five foot drop right on my ass into a rocky, muddy patch of earth. I got a headache and took some Advil.

Now I really thought about turning around, but climbing back over all that seemed so daunting. Besides, this section wasn’t supposed to have much snow, so it was probably nearly over now. Right?

Total exercise in frustration as the terrain became increasingly difficult.

It took me two hours to go 1.5 miles.

Over the next rise, there was a cliff, and a huge cornice of snow clung precariously to it. There was a great crack in its crust, and the whole thing threatened to fall into the valley below.

Hell no I’m not doing that – I said out loud. To my dismay, other people had. Several sets of footprints led across that terrible cornice. So glad it hadn’t yet given.

There were huge rocky outcroppings on the left which were actually dry, so I headed for those.

After wandering around for a while, I picked a reasonable line. I took off my pack and lowered it down. Then I climbed down below my pack, reached up and plucked it from its perch, and lowed it down below me again.

I daydreamed of telling my Dad this story and hearing him say, “Well dammit, I hope you had the good sense to turn around.”

No Dad, sadly I did not.

In this manner, I got to the bottom of the rock pile, and up and over the next big pile as well. The trail was then on a South facing slope again and completely free of snow. I trotted down the path, super happy.

This must be beautiful to walk through when you can actually walk through it.

Then more snow. This snow is kicking my ass. I am in these mountains too early. I shouldn’t be alone. I shouldn’t be here for a few more weeks. Give time for the snow to melt.

I found a patch of clear dirt road and decided to camp.  I knew I was an idiot and I just wanted to go home for a few weeks, but I didn’t know if I could make it back the way I’d come. Back to the trail head where my sweet husband dropped me off.  It seemed like a year ago.  Two deer came into the area and stared at me through the mesh of my tent.

What. I said. What are you looking at?

Stupid Deer.

Suddenly three hikers came out of the trees!

HUMANS, I called out, a little too loud.

I got out of my tent and said, “I was sad and all alone, and now you’re here!”

“Thought you were the only one out here?” Mitch asked.

“Yeah. And I’m really afraid we’re too early.”

“Yeah”, he said, “We are all thinking the same thing.”


Aidan Gullickson · June 13, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Great entry! Really glad you made it through and found the dirt where you could.

kheimiller · June 13, 2016 at 6:07 pm

You are not alone because we are all rooting for you

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