Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘REI’

The hubs brother and wife are trying to set up another outdoor adventure for this summer with us.  In discussion with the hubs about possible dates, he pulled up this post and told me to re-read this to remind myself what we are going to get ourselves into.  Apparently, they have upped the ante and this adventure will involve kayaks.  Great now they are going to try to do me in by telling me it is a “calm and relaxing lake” just around the bend and I will be in a class 4 rapid heading straight for a 80-foot waterfall!

  

Day Three of “Four Days of Outdoor Adventure Fodder” Continued . . .    

Like I mentioned before, I went on a 57-mile backpacking trip with the hub’s brother and his wife about 3 or so years ago.   It was a trip that came equipped with many adventures, some down right scary and unpredictable, some created by the environment, and some self-induced.    

A Snake:  We had just started out on the backpacking journey. I had my 37-pound pack strapped to my back, my hiking sticks, and my IPOD charged and jamming as I led the crew, trail blazing, like I was Lewis and Clark.  We were at about the four mile mark into the trip, I had U2’s, “Desire”, blaring on one ear and completely in a zone scrambling over the elevated rocky terrain.  As I was stepping up and around one larger rock I heard a rattle and then felt and heard the strike.  That all happened in about .2 seconds.  I freaked, OK I not only freaked, I was hysterical. First off , I hate snakes and have  a tremendous phobia of snakes of any kind.  I can’t even handle seeing them on TV.  Secondly, I hate snakes and wished they were all extinct – end of story.     

    

So here I am flailing and screaming at the top of my lungs, “I got struck, I got struck!”  I then lost my balance and fell backwards smack into the hubs.  He catches me somewhat, organizes me about six feet away from the “attack site” and begins to question me.  I am ripping off my left shoe terrified and now just half hysterical! My mind was racing on how the heck am I going to get out of here and why the heck am I not feeling any pain. “It must be shock!”, I thought.  The brother-in-law was rummaging through his pack for the snake kit and the sister-in-law looked like she just saw a ghost.     

I finally got my shoe and sock off and to my surprise the reason I was not feeling any pain was because that damn snake struck me on the thick leather portion of my hiking shoe!  It only grazed my skin, never puncturing it.  You could see where the fangs grazed the skin.  Everyone all breathed again and I kept rubbing my eyes out of disbelief I was so lucky.   The guys went over to investigate the scene. Sure enough there was a 6-foot rattlesnake hiding under the rock he was originally sunbathing on when I surprised him.    

After I gathered up my wits again, I had to press onto the journey. I knew that in just a few short miles I would be at elevation and I would not see a snake for days. That was motivation enough for me to keep from throwing in the towel and head to the closest Marriott.  The hardest part at that moment was I was going to have to walk past the snake hiding under the rock.  I never hustled so fast in my life.     

To this day I am more jumpy than I ever have been when it comes to trail running and hiking.  I actually drive the hubs crazy with my new and improved snake phobia, but he does swear that I must be  part cat since I used up one of my nine lives that backpacking trip.      

Four Letter Pass and a Near Broken Neck: On a side note, I need to preference that when you decide to go on a 57-mile backpacking trip with huge elevation changes, gear is a factor one must always consider.  Now anyone that truly knows me, knows that I am very generous with others, but cheap when it comes to myself.  The hubs tried to convince me to buy a new backpack for this trip, but the sister-in-law said I could use one of their old ones.  She did let me know it was and external frame that was probably 20-25 years old.  Being cheap, not wanting to spend the $300.00 for comfort and taking the risk for future writing material, I opted for the “vintage” free one.  Two words: BAD MISTAKE!   

The "vintage" pack I tortured myself with.

The pack I should of thrown down the dough for!

We were on day four of our journey and we were now in the thick of elevation.    None the less this day started early and I knew that I had my work cut out for me with the climb of Glenn Pass.  At its highest point it is around 12, 000 feet.  Climbing anything above 10,000 feet can be challenging, but then add a large pack and you are essentially screwed.   As we started the climb I went to my place I go when I have to push my body to its brink.  It is a true savior at about the 18-mile marker of a marathon,  the transition from the bike to the run during a triathlon and when you are schlepping up a mountain side with very little oxygen and carrying a yak on your back.  The ascent had its challenges, but easier than I expected. It was now time for the fun part, the descent! So I thought . . .      

The brother-in-law said that the lakes we could see as we were going down was the area we were camping for two nights.  All we have to do is just get down to the bottom and it was set up camp, eat, fly fish and relax in God’s country for two days!  I was like a horse to the stable, I was off and running!  After about two hours of heading down the switchbacks of Glen Pass, I realized that the lakes were still as far away as they were 2 hours ago.  My legs were now jelly and my gusto was fading.  I kept telling the hubs, “Are we there yet?”  Another hour goes by and still we are not getting any closer.  We never stopped to rest, we just kept pressing on. The “mirage” of the destination was still completely out of reach.  My knees were now swelling from the hours of impact of hiking down the step trail, my head was pouring and my spirit was now not only broken, but I was pissed off!       

  

Just about that time we hit level ground and were at the lake!  I thought, “Thank God! We are finally here!”  Nope, we now had to walk another mile  around this God forsaken lake and then over a fallen log and down another trail to reach the friggin’ campsites.   I thought I was going to kill someone, if I had the strength.  Each step was like I was negotiating for another.   I think I may have hallucinated a helicopter and maybe a burro coming to my rescue on a few occasions.   It was the longest day of my life and I felt it would never end.     

  

 Like  child-birth, kidney stones, gall stones and broken femurs, they do have their moments of uncontrollable behavior and bad coping skills.  We  just seen the sign for the camp and the brother-in-law, who left us in the dust when my knees started acting up, was standing there in a clearing. I was so thankful and almost giddy that it was over.  I was already starting to unfasten my “cheap-A” backpack when he said that the camp was still about 1/4 of mile up the trail and he just came to show us where it was.   I lost it!  I flung that thirty something pound “cheap -A” backpack off my body and like the Incredible Hulk, held it over my head and threw it with all the remaining strength I had.  The brother-in-law looked at me as if I was Linda Blair from the ” The Exorcist” and the hubs tried to hold in the laughter since he never saw me crack like that.  

It's not a backpack, but you get the idea!

Once I threw the pack, I knew something was not right.   I could not lift my head. My neck froze!  I could not move my head up or down nor left to right.  It was like I was paralyzed.  It was the result of looking down for hours with the aluminum bar of the backpack pressing down on the back of my neck (having a physical and emotional meltdown probably did not do it any favors  as well).  I was scared to death that I was seriously injured.  The hubs and the brother- in-law jumped into action and led me to the camp.  We were now 20 plus miles in and the only way out was by helicopter or burro.  The pain was so intense I loaded up with Advil and fully clothed jumped into the frigid alpine lake hoping that would cool my muscles down and unlock my neck.  It worked!     

 
 
 

 

Actual shot of Glen Pass (a.k.a. Four Letter Pass)

The next morning while drinking coffee, feeling the stiffness and painful effects of the previous day, and gazing at Glen Pass I realized that I must have dropped the “F-bomb” a million times while hiking down its endless switchbacks.  At that moment I renamed it “Four Letter Pass”.   It was a unanimous vote for all that were present for that profanity filled adventure.    

(161. . . should have never had the half of the ice cream sandwich with the hubs)    

   

   

Read Full Post »