I’ve been sprawled out under my tarp for a while now; thinking about how to express in words what occurred today. I don’t think I’m capable but I’ll do my best. I wasn’t even able to explain to my hiking partners what I’d done after coming off the ridge. Up on Rainbow Pass, I got it into my head that hiking cross country on the divide would be a good idea. The CDT went way down into a viewless valley but I could hike up on the ridge! It all started ok, scrambling up to a peak high above the pass. 360-degree views and an ember of adventure in my heart. I should have noticed I was beyond safety when the hand over hand rock climbing began. I’m not a skilled climber but I kept on. Soon my route took me down and I realized rock climbing down was much harder than going up. Too late now; I wasn’t going to climb back what I just barely went up fifteen minutes ago.The next 2 miles were the scariest in my life. There was a moment of self-realization where I actually questioned my likelihood of surviving this intact. Out there on the Divide with hundreds of vertical feet below me as I clung to crumbling rock, scrambling on a knife edge of rotten stone with the gaping void of space on either side. There was nothing I wouldn’t have traded to have not made this decision but there was nothing I could do but continue. Trying to remain calm while every rational brain cell was shrieking in terror, focusing on the next five feet, and the next, and the next…I’m writing about this, so obviously I survived. Very glad to get to Pintler Pass where Jug and Toek were waiting for me. I stood there with my body trembling; the fear was subsiding and the serenity of being whole washed over my tiny brain. They were wise to choose not to walk where I did, and I was ecstatic to regroup.
- Starting Location: bugs!
- Destination: a scary time on the Divide