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Monday, November 28, 2022

A Bigger Surprise than Anticipated - Day 363

  The surprise I had in mind is telling you that Bill is back! And this picture was taken at the end of the day. That way you know there is a happy ending even if we both look tired. We had another surprise about 3.5 hours into our hike.

We set out to fill in the piece I was not able to complete yesterday. We began with a great view of the Dead River Valley. (After Michael again delivered us with a 90 minute drive to the middle of nowhere)
Dead River Valley

Sunrise from the top of the ridge was pretty awesome. I'm not a sunrise person as you know, but if I have to be up, that's a good place to see it from.
sunrise from a ridge

We conquered a lot of rocky hills.
hiker in saddle of hills

And successfully got across Wildcat Canyon Creek on rocks.
snowy creek

Michael had told about this log bridge at Cole Creek.
Cole Creek

Bill crossed first. He fell off the log not once but three times, wetting everything but his head and one shoulder. Yes, he gave me permission to tell the story. This is how fast things can potentially turn serious. This looks like an ordinary picture, which is deceptive, because he was soaking wet.
wet hiker

I got across the log safely.

Decision time. I had the means to build a fire, but Bill did not want to do that. He thought the solution was to keep moving as fast as he could to generate body heat. So he started hiking as fast as he could toward our pickup point. I could not have kept up with him, so I followed his tracks to be sure they stayed on the trail, and watched my phone for any hint of a cell signal to reach Sue and Michael. I finally got messages through to both of them. I didn't know where either one was, so I didn't know who could get there quicker.

I told Sue to bring blankets, hot drinks, and dry clothes if possible.

It turned out she was shopping at a Goodwill, so she bought some generic clothes and a blanket, picked up a hot drink and scooted for the end point.

Michael was doing trail work, and was 20 minutes away from his truck, but he started heading there as fast as he could.

Once, Bill lost the blazes and was wandering around at the bottom of a valley. I was concerned that he might be getting cold and disoriented, but then he found the trail again. Whew! I figured that since I was following his tracks, and he was between me and whomever got to the pickup point, if something happened, I'd find him. He did leave some messages for me, written in the snow, that he was OK.

Finally, Sue texted me that she had reached the meeting point, and Bill had not yet arrived. Whew! I knew Bill would not stop if no one was there. He shouldn't stop. He would keep going until he got to a house, but the first one he could have reached was another 3+ miles farther. I was also concerned that he would not recognize the turnoff to get to the car, so I was hoping/praying that either Sue or Michael would get there in time to "catch" him.

Eleven minutes later, Bill appeared. Sue texted me that she had him, and all was well.

It took me another 20 minutes to get there- Bill was hiking that much faster than I. But that was fine. I was in no danger. I just couldn't go that fast on the snowy hills.
hiker in winter

We delivered Bill to Michael's house where he is staying so he could get a hot shower and start drying his boots.

So, we are sharing this to remind us all how quickly things can change. You might say we should have stayed together, but I could not hike fast enough to let Bill stay warm, but I could get arrangements made for a safe ending. I could also monitor Bill's stride, and if he started walking as if he were disoriented, I could call 911. And I could have gotten a fire going if I caught up to him and he was in trouble. We also had 2 space blankets with us, if they were needed.

All is well, we are hiking as usual tomorrow.

Miles today: 5.5. Total miles so far: 4170.0.

See Alternate Adventure


Ann said...

I'm glad you had each other to get through this successfully.

patrickshea96 said...

Wow -- a bit of a scare for sure, but glad everyone is ok. Turns out: a quick dip in a winter creek is more dangerous than wolves! :-O

The Oceanside Animals said...

Lulu: "Wet clothes and cold temperatures, scary stuff! We are glad everything turned out well!"

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- yes, two people are good when this kind of thing happens.

Patrick- it sure can be!

Lulu- thank you.