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View Full Version : Lessons learned - Divine intervention



storygirll
07-28-2009, 01:27 AM
I love this mountain and all its weather BUT I still carried the desire to summit.
I wanted to "Seek the Peak" that morning.
I do also realize that desire can get folks into a lot of trouble.
Saturday was one of those days for me.

My alarm sounded at 3 and I never opened my eyes 'til 3:30. Ouch!
Breakfast was rushed. It was pouring rain during my 1 1/2 hour ride to the mountain. I drove right on by the parking lot at Pinkham (who knew they were doing repairs?) - then I had to turn around and go back.

6:30 - saw some friendly forum faces and we were headed up Tucks.
Humid weather = I'm just not finding my hiking rhythm.
Hot flashes. Yup - I'm old. Not what you want while hiking.

A little more food, some water - nope - something was just "OFF" with me.
Busy trail - I didn't want to hold others up. Step to the side of the trail - hello - please pass.

Huff and puff my way to HoJo's. Wait a minute - I really should be in better shape then this. Just what is going on????

Cooler weather really felt great.

Wow - still a long, wet, slippery way yet to go.
My goodness - that's big mountain. Maybe I should re-think this adventure.
Hmmmmm . . . can I do this? Should I do this?
Group pow-wow - continue to lunch rocks - picnic/re-evaluate this situation.
More food = good. Breathing = better. Cloud cover = THICK!!!
This is only my 3rd time heading for the summit = novice. Summit in total cloud cover = my uneasiness. Wet slippery rocks - hmmmm. Visibility ?.

Humility - time to call it a day. Be safe.
Hike for the love of the journey not the journey's end.

With that said - I didn't want to head back down Tuck's with the river of "Seek the Peak" folks finding their way to the summit.

New plan - at Tuckerman's Junction, hang a left, head toward the Davis Path and decend down Boott Spur. Very exciting. A nice loop. New views. Great idea! We've got a plan (so much for telling my husband our route - :( yikes!)

At the very moment we took the left turn toward the Davis Path, I felt positively joyous, strong, ready to hike all day! This was the way we were supposed to go. I really can't explain it - I know it sounds crazy - but I had to be on that trail.

The wind slowed, the sun came out. Lunch with a great view. It doesn't get any better than this!!! 45 minutes later, our group of three women came upon one lone hiker climbing up Boott Spur. A very lovely young lady, all on her own, worrying her way toward the summit. All alone = yikes!!! She really needed our strong detailed words of the trail ahead. The weather was sunny and clearing toward the summit and she decided to continue on (other option = she was welcomed into our group). Our meeting was a comfort to her. It was good to share worries and trail reports. The young lady had a friend to drive her off the mountain and we made a plan to meet at dinner.

Hugs - exchanges of phone numbers and email - turkey dinner - and a new friend!!!

I truly believe that I was in the right place at the right time.
It was not my day to summit. I was needed someplace else.

>^..^< Shelley

Charlie
07-28-2009, 10:14 PM
very good
its not all about making the summit ,it all about having a good hike ,seeing good friends ,making new friends and helping the MWOBS
good to see you again Shelly
i hope next year they do something at the big tent fri night so we all can chat some more

krummholz
07-29-2009, 03:44 PM
This was a detailed and interesting report, and I know there have been a number of times when I've decided to turn back on hikes (not on Washington in particular, but other places), so I can definitely relate to the story told here! Sounds like the day turned out successfully despite the lack of a summit.

Just one thing I wanted to comment on. You told of a "young lady" hiking "all on her own," and you said, "all alone = yikes!" From the sound of it, she was not sure of the trail conditions and welcomed information, so it all turned out for the best.

But I will say that as a female hiker who has done all kinds of solo trips for many years, I personally don't welcome any presumption that I should be hiking with others. I wonder if you can honestly say you would have had the same reaction if the solo hiker you'd met was a young man instead of a "young lady." There is another whole debate you can get into (if you want) about whether anyone at all should be hiking solo, but in my opinion it has nothing to do whether the hiker is male or female. Just my two cents....

kendra4
07-29-2009, 04:19 PM
When I was in the military one of the first things they teach you is the buddy system. Something simple you learn as a child to never walk alone especially at night. Wether your a man or a woman.
If i person gets lost while hiking with company at least the other person can say their lost partner is between piont a and b rather than being lost alone on a whole entire trail. The saying of hike safe. Hike smart. Man or woman regarless of age or experience when lost puts rescuers in danger.

Nice story storygirl and glad you were there to help who ever was the person girl guy 20 or 80 ;)

KD Talbot
07-29-2009, 04:20 PM
It is a good story and I'm glad you could help out. I also totally agree with Krummholz that solo is nothing to be alarmed about. Most of the super hikers I know are women and they solo on a regular basis. Many of the men I know solo on bushwhacks where if they did get hurt they might never be found. I think they're safer out there than driving to the trailhead. Just my opinion.

KDT

Tim&Val
07-29-2009, 06:47 PM
Hi Shelley,

I'm glad your day turned out so great! It was nice to talk to you both at Flatbread and also at the tent! After talking to you on Saturday night, the idea of doing "Seek-the-Peak" and instead of going to a busy summit, finding a wonderful loop away from the crowds was a very tempting idea. To quote my EMS T-shirt (no kidding) the journey is the destination.

Sincerely,
Valerie

KD Talbot
07-29-2009, 09:20 PM
The crowd is why we always hike Boott Spur. This year we wound up on Tucks above the Headwall anyway, then came down Tucks too. It was like a log jam.

Seriously, next year we may hike Washington on Friday, show up at the Kick-off Party, do something mellow on Saturday, and join everyone for the feast later.

We think the weirdness with Emma on the way down Tucks was due to the mass of people. We would like to avoid a repeat.

KDT

Charlie
07-29-2009, 09:50 PM
The crowd is why we always hike Boott Spur. This year we wound up on Tucks above the Headwall anyway, then came down Tucks too. It was like a log jam.

Seriously, next year we may hike Washington on Friday, show up at the Kick-off Party, do something mellow on Saturday, and join everyone for the feast later.

We think the weirdness with Emma on the way down Tucks was due to the mass of people. We would like to avoid a repeat.

KDT

thats a good idea
im glad we started at 3:30 am ,we had 1 person come down lions head early then only 6 people passed us until we hit the cone then more people came up behind us . we had my wife up top with my truck to take us down . that gave us a lot of time up top .

mtruman
07-31-2009, 02:06 PM
Wonderful account of the day Shelley. So glad that we ran into you multiple times last weekend and got to share a part of the hike with you. The summit will be there for a long time and I'm sure that you'll stand on it again. The way you adapted to the situation and turned everything for the positive is how being on the trail and in the mountains should always be. You'll see that we discovered more than a little of that this week as well (TR coming soon). Look forward to running into you in the mountains (and on the forum) again soon.

storygirll
08-01-2009, 11:54 PM
sorry - sorry - sorry!

It's the mother in me!!! I'm only speaking from my own inexperience. I'm a 50ish novice hiker and my comments were based on the tearful manner in which I was greeted. If I came upon a "lovely young man" showing a lack of confidence, I would also have said "YIKES" - and he shouldn't be hiking alone. And so, YES, I can honestly say I would have had the same reaction if the solo hiker I met was a “lovely young man” instead of a "young lady" providing all other factors remain the same.

Not knowing whether my hiker friend was a forum reader or not - I was trying hard not to offend. I do strongly believe that hiking with a buddy is the safer way to go. Maybe I worry about my creaking knees giving out and misery loves company - a friend would be nice to talk to while waiting for my daughter to rescue me (PVSART).

Krummholt . . .
and by tossing your two cents out there for all to read . . . it made me revisit/rethink my words in a whole new light.

Thanks.
>^..^< Shelley

mtruman
08-02-2009, 07:30 AM
sorry - sorry - sorry!

It's the mother in me!!! I'm only speaking from my own inexperience. I'm a 50ish novice hiker and my comments were based on the tearful manner in which I was greeted. If I came upon a "lovely young man" showing a lack of confidence, I would also have said "YIKES" - and he shouldn't be hiking alone. And so, YES, I can honestly say I would have had the same reaction if the solo hiker I met was a ?lovely young man? instead of a "young lady" providing all other factors remain the same.

Not knowing whether my hiker friend was a forum reader or not - I was trying hard not to offend. I do strongly believe that hiking with a buddy is the safer way to go. Maybe I worry about my creaking knees giving out and misery loves company - a friend would be nice to talk to while waiting for my daughter to rescue me (PVSART).

Krummholt . . .
and by tossing your two cents out there for all to read . . . it made me revisit/rethink my words in a whole new light.

Thanks.
>^..^< Shelley

I have to say that in general I agree with you Shelley. There are many people who hike solo and are just fine doing so. In this case it sounds like the person you met was not really prepared for this (sounds like she was doing this for the first time and didn't know the trail). That's not the time to be alone. Too many things can go wrong. For the experienced hikers (men or women - doesn't matter) that are prepared and like to hike solo, they are making a choice. Hiking in the mountains always has an element of risk and going solo increases that risk. I worry too (often way too much) and for me personally that extra risk is not worth it - largely because it can make the time on the trail for me less of a good experience.

krummholz
08-02-2009, 10:44 AM
Shelley,

Your response was very generous--no need to apologize! Just one of those moments when I thought, "I bet she didn't look at it from this other point of view." I've had many wonderful adventures with friends and also many solo adventures. They have a very different flavor, and I wouldn't want to give up either kind. Solo adventuring is a lifelong habit, starting with when I travelled around youth hostels in Europe by myself at the age of 18. I did solo bushwhacking for years, much of it before cell phones were invented. It's what I would consider a calculated risk, one that I prepare for and carry out in certain specific ways. You'll notice anyway that quite a few search and rescue operations are for pairs or groups of people, not just for solo hikers. I do truly think that many people feel it's normal for a guy to do solo hiking but not for a woman. I don't go around getting angry about that, but I notice it sometimes. Thanks for your very understanding response --Jenny

snihoosy73
11-21-2009, 06:51 PM
First let me make this clear, THIS IS NOT ME WHO WROTE THIS.

I found this on another site, it is a battlefield medics lessons learned while in Iraq. There are a few things that bushcrafters can learn from what he learned so I decided to share what he said.