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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mile 882ish: What's that story about the little boy and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day? Kind of like that.

Okay, maybe today wasn't completely terrible, horrible, no good and very bad. But a lot sucked, for all of us.

It started with Bear Creek, which hadn't come down at all overnight (later I theorized that the lakes upstream probably buffer any sort of daily freeze/thaw fluctuations). We crossed at maybe not the most perfect spot, but the best available, with a rope strung from shore to shore.
I went first. It was very cold. It was very fast. It was crotch-deep at the worst. I stumbled several times, and had difficulties righting myself without stumbling more. So glad I had a rope to hold onto!

Then I watched as Sweet 16 struggled across but made it just fine.

As punishment for all the terrible deeds I've done in my life, I then watched micro Microburst go across. Being the smallest, she struggles the hardest. At the point where the current is worst, she got her downstream foot stuck and her lips started turning blue. Double Check ended up going out to her, holding the line taught, and giving her a hand much more stable to hold onto.

The experience put us both in hyper-emotional states. By the time I caught up with Micro at a far chiller x-ing, I had realized I had lost/misplaced a bandana and bugnet, and fallen into the mud, which I burst into tears over because the same thing had happenned yesterday in the same way. Then my Chaco strap broke, and my sandal started fitting really funky and hurting on the one day we had a lot of river fords.

Micro had been waiting for a while, and I told her, "I'm having a bad day, thanks for waiting, but I should probably hike alone this morning." She asked what was wrong, I told her, and she told me that they probably were in my pack somewhere, just in a weird place. At this point I snapped, and told her, "I don't need you to lecture me! I know that I might not have left them behind, you asked what was wrong so I told you!"

At this point, Carmen took off, indeed upset. So spurred emotionally, she pretty much ran up and down the next 5 miles of switchbacks, but not without bursting into tears and scratching into the dirt, "We both feel like shit, if it makes you feel any better!" When I got to the note, I accidentally stepped on the second half, so the best I could make out was "Look who!" with an arrow. Confused at seeing nobody, I continued on, and read, "We both feel like shit!" Completely misinterpreting the tone of the note (for the better), I thought Microburst was commiserating with me, reaching an empathetic hand out from ahead. Overcome with joy, I immediately felt really bad for what I had said, and sped up so that I could apologize and give her a great big hug. But I never did, even though I swear I heard voices ahead of me. Finally, starving, I ate lunch at two in a really bad spot on the switchbacks.

Meanwhile, Sweet 16 had completely blown past a trail marker sign with her head down against the mosquitoes (did I mention that we all forgot bug dope AGAIN?). She stopped at 11 for an early lunch and to wait for us, but since she was off trail, we never showed up. Eventually she continued on, briefly checking her map and confirming that the trail did indeed contour along the river for while. When she started going down switchbacks without ever going up them, she realized her mistake, asked some day hikers if she was even on the trail, and booked it back. When she got to the trail junction and saw how clearly marked it was, she burst into tears.

Eventually, we all regrouped, hugged, made up, and had Calorie and Double-Check tell us how crazy girls are. We all hiked on. Then there were the river fords. There were two that Diuble Check ended up wading out into the water at the sketchiest last little bit to offer a hand at the fastest and deepest bit. The second of those was awful, way worse than Bear Creek. The water was super churned up and white, so it was impossible to see the rocks in the way. Microburst got stuck at one such invisible rock for a while, and Double-Check ended up grabbing her and pretty much pulling her across. I got stuck in the exact same spot, and ended up taking DOuble-Check's hand and leaping into the eddy, where I stumbled and fell backwards into a rock, going waist-deep into the water, and filling up my dry boots on the back of my pack with water. Everybody was suddenly telling me "You'e okay, you're okay, we've got you, you're across!" Annoyed, I thought, "Of course I'm okay, I just leapt across the not-okay part to get to the okay part and I'm sitting right next to where everyone is standing!"

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