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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mile 1564.3: confusing water, and a plethora of swear words

I woke up in the middle of the night to the delicate sounds of gagging, heaving, retching, and coughing. Sweet 16 was in the process of finding out that even freeze-dry chicken goes bad after a while. Poor thing, she sounded so miserable.

We misread the maps at our lunch spot: Microburst had the terrain completely inverted (seeing the topo lines wrong so ridges looked like drainages and vice versa), I thought that our spot looked a lot like Chilcoot Creek on the map with the exception of the creek itself, wishful thinking had me thinking the creek was in the next drainage over, and I don't remember what fallacies were going through Sweet 16's brain.

Sweet 16 took off first, then myself. It soon became quite clear that I would need to go to the off-trail lake below a saddle if the spring listed on Microburst's map but not ours was seasonal. Sweet 16 had oddly passed the lake wihout a second glance and just half a liter- was she assuming the spring would be flowing? I waited for Microburst (and her maps) for a while, then realizing that I could have gone down and back in the time I'd spent dilly-dallying, I headed down. I got extra water for 16 in case the spring was dry and she found herself S.O.L., and while I was down there so stinky and the water so tempting, clear, and perfect temperature, I also washed out my clothes and scrubbed myself down.

When I got back up to the saddle, I realized that I had first hit that spot an hour earlier. I swore profusely. When I hit the spring gushing strongly a mile later, realizing that hour was all wasted, I swore even louder.

The swearing soon became a pattern, as I came across more and more unlisted water sources and trail junctions. Soon I didn't know where I was other than very far behind. More lengthy swearing.

When I finally did

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