3/19/15 The Awful Day

3/19/15   Muskrat Creek Shelter   11 miles

I am writing this entry in my tent cold and wet. I am wondering what all my family and friends are doing in their WARM and DRY houses. Today, I almost cried. It has rained since we left the hotel from our zero day. The rain has slacked off only a little never really stopping. My trekking pole broke right as we started hiking; we were literally still at the trailhead. I left the pieces of my pole behind and hiked on with only one. For one who was totally against trekking poles when I first started backpacking, I truly value them now.

We crossed the border into North Carolina and the stupid camera froze up. Darwin was so cold he could only manage to shake the battery luckily bringing it back to life; there are limits to waterproofing. We faked happy faces at the sign marking the border and moved on trying to avoid hyperthermia.

I pulled something in my left leg while peeing. I had gone off trail to find a spot and when I was bearing all to the elements, Darwin hollered for me thinking I was lost. I lost balance but caught myself before bare ass hit wet leaves but only at the expense of my leg muscle. I limped back to Darwin who looked frozen standing and waiting for me in what was now sleet. I didn’t realize I had wondered off that far from him; my brain was frozen.

It is still currently raining as I write this. The temperature is still dropping. All my hiking clothes are wet….

By the time we made the shelter it was over capacity. When we arrived at this site Darwin and I just stood and stared at everyone, our packs still on. I literally could not think, I was so cold. After about five minutes of this Roub finally snapped us out of it. If we didn’t get moving we were at a very high risk of becoming hypothermia. Roub helped us pitch our tent under the shelter and the three of us quickly moved it out and plunged stakes down.

It took me probably twenty minutes to get my clothes off and into my dry ones. I would take once article off, shiver, think of Bowie (our black lab) warm and fuzzy, and try to replace my next soaked piece of clothing. My hands were so cold I couldn’t feel what I was doing. When I got my dry clothes on I bundled up into my sleeping bag. Darwin and I laid in silence dozing off and on listening to the never-ending rain. As I started to warm up my brain started firing and it was only then that I realized how dangerous of a situation we were in just a few hours before.

With mom hundreds of miles away, there was no one to save me. Darwin was dealing with his own frozen hell and couldn’t spare even a word of comfort. It was up to me to take care of myself, no one left to save me but me. As my body warmed even more I began to realize my own personal victory. I hadn’t ran the other direction and wimped out. I did what I needed to do to survive an awful situation. I was a strong and capable woman after all.




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