12,000+ feet

Today’s walk had me high in the mountains, above tree line for quite some time. Coming off Poison Ridge dumping me into a tangle of old jeep roads but I found the correct path and descended in forest through a maze of old track. There were a few cairns so I added rocks and made some new ones since the route snaked around in a confusing squiggle. Eventually got to the junction for Parkview Mountain and started the ascent. Very steep climbing without trail got me to the ridge where I watched dark clouds rolling in. Kept climbing, ready to bolt down at the first sign of lightning. Up, up, up the mountain, slowly plodding as I reached 12,000 feet and a spattering of rain began to fall. Finally hit the summit – 12,296 feet – as the wind blasted from the south and I stumbled to the tiny cabin on the top. Barely big enough for three hikers, it was a welcome reprise from the cold wind and rain. Bundled up with all my clothing and had lunch.When I looked out the door after eating, all I could see was white. Thick cloud cover had erased all trace of the world outside and I could barely see 15 yards away. From my rocky summit it looked like I was an island in a sea of clouds. There was no trail up here, so navigating would be difficult at best in these conditions. How could I follow a map if I couldn’t see where I was walking? In trying to decide what to do, I thought about what John Muir would do in this situation. Then I thought what Charles Bukowski would do, so I took a slug of whiskey, unrolled my sleeping bag and promptly took a nap. When I awoke, conditions were the same so I figured I better just go. Eased east-northeast and once I lost 1000 feet in elevation, I could see better. Dropped down into forest, away from clouds, and bushwhacked my way through dense overgrowth and thousands of blow downs. Eventually popped out on a road and was able to pinpoint my location before setting off on another bushwhack northeast to hunt for my beloved trail. Clouds kept threatening rain, but it stayed dry as I hiked ’til dusk and found the CDT.

  • Starting Location: too much information
  • Destination: 12,000+ feet


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