Day Nine

Trip 89  January  2009


January 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19  2009


A Very Cold Morning On The Last Day Of My Trip

The male bladder introduces me to Day 9 and so at around 1am I get up from an unzipped bag and look around at my current situation: stuck on an ice floe inside a coated yellow and green ice cube in complete solitude slowly bobbing atop a 5260 foot ice swell. Occasionally a tundra mid-Pole windgust comes across the spit of land I call my home and I know deep below me somewhere there is life, but here on the surface there is nothing but white, even the cheering caw of the friendly raven is missing.

A lone candle lights the way and warms the small tipi-like shelter-raft I sit inside as I think dreadful numbing thoughts of having to pull it apart and roll it up to get out of here. Rescue only comes thru my own efforts and so will come a valiant attempt to lose this place in the next 10 hours and pull it off with intact hands and feet from the beast with ice crystal eyes. Even now I hear the amazing and dreaded sound of more snow hitting the surface of my home, more snow to test brown and red fingers and clog the highway out of here. Highway out of here, you say?

There’s only two ways out of here, on foot or in a body bag. Ha Ha Ha. The biggest hassle of a long backpacking trip is leaving a car sitting at the trailhead, especially on long winter trips. My usual nervous nelly worrisome self–ignore me.

On Friday Day 6 I was thinking of the Soruck gathering and laughing when I thought of all the AT-loving participants and backpackers fleeing into buildings and heated rooms. I wondered how many of them actually stayed out in tents during the thing? I wanted to get back in the worst way just to read the Soruck thread aftermath and their comments on the cold. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to have Soruck where there’s no access to buildings and indoor plumbing and where people actually couldn’t drive to reach but had to walk 5 miles in to attend? Uncle Fungus starts another rant to end his trip.

I get up to see the full light of morning and notice a fresh white coat of snow over everything along with a sky spitting down snow in white display. After I give Little Mitten a call I will pack up and get off this mountain and begin either my departure or a detour down the South Fork all depending on road contitions.

I can’t help but admire the mouth watering scene around me of this winter wonderland in white virginal splendor. I gotta pack up in it though and move–but it’ll be okay as the 6 Georgia boys are down on the Nutbuster somewhere and must do the same–they’ll have a harder time of it than me as I wouldn’t want to do the Nutbuster in yet more snow and ice and I wouldn’t want to head down the Little Santee in this white fluff and hard ice tread. Let me begin the going process. Wish me luck. Momma Nature is giving me both barrels on this trip.

Hiking Out In The Snow On Day 9

Just to get out of the wilderness on this trip required a beautiful walk out and a strange sight greeting me at the parking lot: My car was moved several feet sideways and of course covered in ice. How it got moved is still a mystery but it started up okay and after about 45 minutes of ice scrapping and hand warming I pulled out and drove a long and treacherous route thru a snow-covered road down from 4600 to about 2000 feet where the road got clear of snow and it was smooth sailing. I’m already planning my next trip.


Shunka Dog Leads The Way Out To Beech Gap


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