Thursday June 10, 2010
Camp 41: Where do we go from here? 12,000 feet
I am at a loss for words as to how our day has been. We hiked through snow fields, mud and water. At times we slid straight down the snow and overall it was slow, slow going. At around 6pm the trail skirted the North side of the mountain at 12,000 feet with a snow drift blocking the way, seemingly impassible with the gear we had. If we fell, it was a long straight drop, thousands of feet down into the canyon. We made a decision to go high, hoping to find a way around. Instead, we hiked to the top and were greeted by high winds. It took my breath away, my eyes watered and each step took effort and concentration to simply stand up. We couldn’t even risk getting close to the edge to scout out our options for fear that the gusts would send us over. The adrenaline was rushing but it was all a little terrifying as we hovered behind a rock trying to make sense of the situation. We sat there, wide eyed and out of breath as we made the painful decision to head back down the way we came before we lost our sunlight. Back through the snow drifts and mud, punching through the snow, everything wet, temperature dropping fast…brutal circumstances. We finally found a place to set up camp and quickly put dry clothes on. In 11 hours of hiking we only made it about 7 trail miles- unbelievable. It makes me want to cry! We are beat up and beyond exhausted. Hopefully tomorrow will bring some clarity. This is definitely a different trail and it’s only the beginning.