The hike started as an easy walk in the woods.
We meandered through the forest with the sun filtering in and out of the trees. A creek flowed next to us. We crossed it and got glimpses of the ridge line as we hiked upwards.
Then came the sketchy spot; AKA a combination of snow, rock and ice.
I’d gone with a group of fellow Bear Brookers for an overnight backpacking trip. We had varying levels of backpacking experience between us. Shappy J had backpacked El Camino de Santiago, a trail in Spain that required dedicated time and intense planning. Brie and Stephen had backpacked regularly in Montana while Maddie and I had done so only occasionally in our respective states. We also had two first timers, Kell and Rachel, who wore backpacks fresh from the store and huge smiles on their faces. We were all excited at the chance to get into the mountains.
And then we arrived at the sketchy spot.
Uphill + ice + snow + steep slope= a Karlie that will likely freeze up from nervousness and move very slow.
In situations involving mountain slopes and icy conditions, my logic jumps to the worst case scenario: when I fall (not if), I’ll end up getting hurt or toppling down a cliff. Therefore, go slower!
This means I go really slow, and most of the time get really nervous. I’m slowly training myself not to immediately imagine the worst thing every time I go outside of my comfort zone, but…I digress.
We all made it to the shelter, which was a glorious site. The plan was to drop off the equipment and then head to the summit. Originally, I was going to hike with the group, but once I got the shelter I remembered that there would be more ice and snow awaiting me at the summit.
Yes, I do have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), but this time I didn’t want to push my comfort level too much. So I said “No thanks, not this time,” and I stayed behind. Any regrets? Maybe. I’m sure the views were beautiful, but I didn’t want to risk it for the biscuit, as the saying goes.
So I appreciated the views from the shelter, and the experience of sleeping on a platform looking out at the clouds. Still, in the back of my mind, I knew I had to go back down the mountain the next day. Down wasn’t an issue. But back down the ice, snow and rock in the rain?!
Oh hey, every worst possible situation. Breathe, Karlie, breathe.
As it turns out, it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. In fact, it was kind of fun. I took it slow, slid on my butt, and used my hands and feet. I was pleased to find the snow had melted in some of the section.
Could it be that I was enjoying backpacking in the rain? Yes! I was exploring a new place and looking forward to a hot meal. My head was in the clouds.
Then, the not-risked biscuit dropped: all my weight came down on my ankle. A week before our spring hitch (beginning of trail season), I had twisted it.
Not going to lie, it’s not ideal. I’m hoping the swelling goes down before next week. However, it could be worse: it’s (probably) not a broken leg, it isn’t bleeding, I don’t have a concussion…death…all these things I learned about in Wilderness First Response.
So…I guess my not-worst-case-scenario training is kind of working.
This post is part of a series focused on Karlie’s ten-month conservation posting with Bear Brook State Park through The Student Conservation Association. It lasts from January 2018 and ends October 2018. During that time, she and her co-workers provide education outreach to local Manchester Schools, maintain worker facilities on state park land, and work to maintain trails and local animal habitats.