Top 5 moments I totally lost it on the trail
5. July 9th 2018, Cohos Trail
“I may have had a tantrum going up Dixville peak. Pack throw down and all. Trekking poles went flying.
It may have been because first there was the steep climb out of Dixville Notch, then the ski trail up then the mud bog from hell and then another ridiculously steep climb up. And I may have let out a banshee cry because of the bugs. All in all a good day.”
4. July 18th 2007, Pacific Northwest Trail
“I finally make it to a clearing which seemed to have been used as a heli pad and am overwhelmed by the view. BEAUTIFUL! This is my camp site for the night. : )
Little did I know there was going to be a major thunderstorm. My poorly set up tent isn’t set up for this. It sags and touches my sleeping bag soaking it at the feet. I’m scared the lightning will hit me and feel the ground tremble a few times. Didn’t see this coming at all. I so wish I were camped somewhere else.
The storm goes on for hours. Just as I think it may have passed, another wave hits. The lightning is so bright! I hide my head in my sleeping bag pretending I’m not there. Needless to say I don’t sleep very well.
I do remember nodding off for a while because I dream about a bear attacking my feet. It wakes me up and I see my tent heavy with water touching my feet. I get rid of the puddle but the damage has been done.”
(But the view was nice)
3. August 18th 2012, Pacific Northwest Trail
“There is a note on the map about the Swift Creek ford possibly having high water and indeed it does. It terrifies me. I scout out different spots but they’re all deeper and swifter than I’d like. To calm my nerves I tell myself that if I go down I won’t die because there aren’t any giant boulders or cascades I can get caught up on. I throw some rocks to see how deep it is in an area that seems a bit calmer. Yeah, too deep. So I walk a bit further and finally take the plunge. Heavily leaning on my trekking poles facing the current I walk sideways telling myself out loud: “You can do this, you can do this, you can do this!”. I’m so freaking scared. When I make it across safely I’m almost hyperventilating.”
(It doesn’t look that bad when it’s not moving)
2. May 1st 2015, Te Araroa, Raetea Forest track
“I have a long day in dense bush on an overgrown trail with one hazy view. At times the trail is hard to follow and it goes over every little summit. Very tiring. I’m not liking it at all. Vines, fallen trees, logs on trail, spider webs in my face, getting cut up by grass, steep ups and downs, a lost cow, what a jungle, what a disaster. Never again! It feels like I’m suffocating in the denseness of it all and I can only keep my nerves in check by reminding myself of the hiking times mentioned on the trail sign. It can’t take longer than that, I will make it out! When the trail finally spits me out on a forest road I’m shaking.”
1.April 5th 2017, Hayduke Trail
“It’s frosty again this morning and my aqua socks are frozen. I thought about putting them in a plastic bag to keep them from freezing last night but realized I wouldn’t want to put them on this morning even if they were just wet. It took my feet hours to warm up last night, I did not want cold feet again in the morning. So I came up with the idea of putting my regular socks in gallon size ziploc bags and put my sandals on over that. It looked funny but worked great. Just a little slippery.
Bull valley gorge starts out pretty mellow and open, a bouldery wash with some pine trees. Very pretty. I read about this alternate in Wired’s journal and it sounded fun.
When the narrow section started I had already taken the ziploc baggies off my feet because it was warming up nicely. I soon regretted this decision as I had to wade through the narrows. It wasn’t deep but the water was icy cold. I had to keep stopping because my feet were getting numb. To make matters worse there were some deeper sections up to my knees and there were some challenging scrambles. I bet when everything is nice and dry these scrambles would be fun. Or when you’re out for the day with a small pack and a friend.
For me however they were quite challenging. Several times I would look at what I had to do and wonder how the hell I was going to pull it off. I would occasionally have a meltdown and a crying fit but then I would breathe, take my pack off, hoist it up to a rock or ledge and hope I wouldn’t drop it in the water on the other side. I had to use all my scrambling and some recently acquired canyoneering skills to make it through. Sure I can wedge myself between a boulder and a wall and somehow move up. No problem! Quicksand? Pffft! I must say that I surprised myself by some of the moves I was able to make. It was almost fun when I succeeded. At one point however I crawled up on a log and grabbed a rope that was attached to the wall. How awesome! A rope to hang onto! I’m almost to the top of the log using the rope to pull myself up when the rope comes lose! It was not attached where I thought it was! I lose my balance, fall off the log and land several feet below in the freezing water. Ouch! Thank goodness my backpack prevented my head from hitting the canyon wall and I come out of it with just a few bruises. Holy crap that could have been bad!
I regroup and just climb up through the waterfall instead, I’m soaked already anyways. For the exit climb out of the canyon I finally get to use the rope I’ve been carrying to haul up my pack! It’s another scramble and I don’t want to risk another fall. When I make it to the surface I am so relieved but I also feel incredibly empowered! I just did that! But let’s not do that again anytime soon.”