9/22/16 53.6 to 65.9 (and 5 miles of roads to get there)

by sedona maniak

There is some resilience in me that I can't explain.  Somehow, I can wake up barely able to move, with aching blisters in wet shoes, intense pain in my entire leg, and just walk miles and miles with fairly minimal pain (as long as the Vitamin I is taken at the appropriate times). 

I woke up to more rain, but packed up anyway, confident that the weather report from several days before would remain accurate.  Actually, there was no confidence at all, but I really had no desire to talk to the surly camp host again.  I hitched back to the confusing network of roads with another German, and thanked my foresight for purchasing the "Active" version of my phone, allowing me to navigate the roads with it in the rain.  Up the roads, I was walking a steady 3.5 mph, a quick uphill pace for me, and I barely noticed that the wind was picking up. 

Finally back on the trail, I enjoyed several miles of aspens and pines, oaks and pine-needled soft trail before a huge meadow opened before me.  At this point, the wind had become a gale, and the rain continued.  My pace had slowed somewhat, and the warmth that I'd been unknowingly generating started to dissipate.  Each curve of the meadow offered hope of a grove just around the corner, but I was disappointed repeatedly.  Before I could reasonably remedy the situation, my hands began to clamp and spasm on my trekking poles, and my legs started shivering.  I shuffled to the nearest trees, probably 1/8 mile from the trail.  By the time I reached them, my whole body was shivering, hot then cold, and motor control was not as simple as it had been earlier in the day.  I understood the situation.  Though it was only about 3am, the wind chill had snuck up on me, and I had to make camp immediately.  There was a slightly less sloped area just above me, and I made camp next to a fallen log, barely squeezing in between a couple of ponderosas.  For the next 13 hours, I attempted to stop the shivering and convulsions, keep my sloped tent dry, and to come up with creative ways to void my bladder and avoid leaving the cocoon of my quilt (ZipLoc bag--I'm not proud of it, but I also didn't die of hypothermia).  It was a very long night.