CDT day 8-I want everyone to take a moment to smile right now. I don’t care if it’s your worst day of best, give it a smile and feel the improvement. This post is dedicated to someone I barely knew but who could not have been more cordial and had an infectious smile. When I knew no one he said “hi” and made sure I did not feel alone by inviting me into the group.
Think of the most simple things in life and then imagine being deprived of them. I am talking food, water and shelter simply. Today I walked 20 miles in the heat of the day with no water and while it was awful and due to my own mistake it was a very good reminder of how fortunate we are all that problems like this rarely if ever exist.
The day started out very cold and my fingers were numb. This meant I had quite a fiasco getting my food down. Since I am in grizzly country I hang my food at night and of all the backpacking tasks this is what I am the worst at. It often takes me countless tries at night to catch a good branch and even longer to get it down in the morning. It is not my throwing ability that is the issue but my confidence. I often aim for branches that are too high and get the rope tangled and stuck. This morning was no exception. When I finally got it down and started walking I was presented with many creek crossings that involved hopping across on rocks. Then the big climb came and I ended up exactly on top of the continental divide. I dismissed the last water source thinking there would still be plenty and then I compounded this mistake by neglecting my maps and walking past a side trail down to a creek. A couple miles after this unrecognized mistake I ran out of water. Now it was time to be mentally tough. There was no shade. There was no water and the sun was brutal. But I was going to make it to the water. My lips cracked, my tongue and mouth felt like cotton and soon I was looking at my maps every five minutes to see how much further. Finally I arrived at Lewis and Clark pass and found a side trail to water. I am sure I will not make a dumb mistake like that again and while it was never a serious safety issue, the degree of uncomfortable I felt will resonate enough to change my tactics and be a lot smarter. I ended the day with a smooth hike in to Rogers pass where I was able to get a ride down to Lincoln, MT and a hotel room for the night.