The dew fell hard and heavy on my tent! Or maybe it rained, hard to tell. But it made for a late start, 10 am, because I had to – okay, wanted to – wait for my tent to dry. I got a later shuttle; they didn’t mind.
Today was a 10.4 mile day, but one I know I will never forget. I started the day dry, I ended with soaking wet boots, wet clothes… and no hiking poles. Not a great start to the 100 mile wilderness! You see, there was this river. The Big Wilson River, I think it was. Very slippery rocks at the bottom, and no way to rock hop; it had to be forded. It is not very smart to try to ford a slippery river carrying your hiking poles in one hand and your boots by their laces in the other.
When the inevitable slip happened, and quickly, it was all splash, boots hit the water, splash, poles hit the water, arm flail, arm flail, try to keep on your feet so the pack doesn’t get soaked… At least that part was successful! Boots being heavy, they sank; poles being light, they floated… away. By the time I flailed back to shore and got the pack off, the poles were gone – I thought they would get hung up on rocks further downstream. No. Saved the sleeping bag from getting wet though. Plenty of frustrated wetness leaking from my eyes though. No poles. Slippery bottom. How could I hope to maintain balance NOW?
Then I noticed the rope strung across the river to give hikers something to hold onto while forcing. Great! I can use that! Except… it is way out of my reach. Too high up for a short person. How can I get a hold of it?
I can now add “rock skier” to my list of skills. I hung my boots around my neck, strapped on my pack, and climbed on top of the huge rock on the edge of the water that the rope overhung. Using a two-handed grip and my weight on the rope, I skiied down the side of the rock into the water, and painfully began working my way across, hand over hand on the rope while my feet floundered. Eventually made it.
But it took a long time to get across that river, and I still had a mile to go. About the time I found a stick to serve as a temporary hiking pole, fellow flipflopper Spidey came across the river. He boosted my morale enough, and set a good enough pace, that it didn’t take too long to get to the shelter, but still, it was dusk. Getting onto full night. So I stayed in the shelter, which unusually was full, and rolled a few tortillas for dinner. Also downed a shot of rum, I figured I earned it!
But first I needed to change into dry clothes! In the dark, could not find the privy, so I just changed behind a convenient cluster of foliage. No phone booth, you see…
Not my favoritest day!
I hike on!