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Saturday, December 17, 2022

More Snow and More... - Day 382

  I awoke to the reality that the predicted snow showers with no accumulation was more like 2.5 new inches on the car. That translated to even more where I was hiking. Truly gorgeous.
snowy trai

I chose to wear the snowshoes. There was 6-12 inches on the ground, most of it wet. That's really hard for me to posthole in. It was only a short while until I realized I wasn't going to be able to do 12 miles before dark. But it was still gorgeous.
evergreens in snow

I was only making 1.5 mph. I created a text message to a couple of people for someone to pick me up after 6 miles at a main road, plugged the phone into the power pack so it would stay on and hiked on in hopes that it would eventually send. Fortunately, it went through, and I got a ride with only 6 miles done.
snow on trees

Now for the reality. This was on gently rolling hills with only a day pack, not carrying a big pack or pulling a sled on real hills. My hips and knees ached the whole way. I only made it 6 miles. Yeah, I probably could have done a couple more, but there was nowhere to extract me at that distance.

I have talked with several friends, including David who was going to do the western UP with me in January. We've officially decided it's not worth the risk. This hike was never planned to be conducted in the dead of a northern winter. I don't have the gear for it. I'm not sure I have the will to be out for extended times in the temperatures that are predicted. Even the roads that are plowed are not going to have any places to park a car safely. One of my unspoken goals has always been to survive this hike with all my appendages. Seems obvious, but perhaps worth mentioning when discussing backpacking in single-digit temperatures.

I am tired of asking friends and mere acquaintances to do white-knuckle driving on marginal roads in the dark. I am tired of trying to contact people to bail me out if I can't do the miles I had planned.

As it is, I've cut the mileages for the next few days in half which is not going to get me to the Mackinac Bridge as soon as I had thought. I'm not going to be able to stay ahead of the big snow that is predicted for the end of the week.

I'm OK with doing short miles for the next 3 days, but if I can't get ahead of the snow again, I may be too frustrated to continue without a winter break. When the days' miles are consistently below 10, I feel as if I am wasting both my time and the time of my helpers (I know I don't get to say how they feel, but it's how I feel about it.).

David will join me in May or June to hike the western UP miles. I will complete them, but it won't be a continuous hike. I just couldn't get to the UP by October.

Signing off to lick my wounds. I am embarrassed, disappointed, and frustrated. It'll be fine, but it just doesn't feel good tonight.

Miles today: 6.1. Total miles so far: 4355.8

See Magical Snow


vanilla said...

Of course, being Sharkey, you would feel disappointed, but you've no reason whatsoever to feel embarrassed. Wisdom is the better part of valor, or so I see it. You have been strong, courageous, and certainly determined in your quest. I applaud your decision to be safely home during this trying time of year and finish up in the spring or summer. Task done, no shame. Pride, even!

Peter Nordgren said...

The history of the north is full of stories of those who didn’t know how to travel safely. You have chosen wisely. I feel your disappointment. But the trail will always be there, for you.

Ellie said...

Joan, you are having an amazing adventure, one that even younger hikers would find extremely challenging. Of course you are disappointed that you won't quite meet your goals but please don't be ashamed? We are all in awe of what you are doing. Your safety and that of your Trail
Angels needs to be your first concern. The trail will be so happy to see you when you return in the spring.

Doug said...

You are awesome and still one of my heros! So proud of your accomplishments. I've had to cut hikes short more than once. Did I ever tell you about heat exhaustion in the trap hills?
Lost 17 pounds in 2 days! Lol. All part of hike your own hike, and knowing what is safe for yourself.

Bob Court said...

Any delay for safer conditions does not diminish what you will accomplish.
You need people to break trail for you in the coming snow. Hang in there.

Ann said...

Sorry to hear about the disappointment but in the end it's the safest way to go.

Tim said...

I’ve enjoyed your posts, and have lived vicariously through your journey…simply put, “thank you” and have a great winter….hoping to pick back up on the trip once you start again.

Tim said...

How will we know when you start again?

Therese said...

You have no reason to be embarrassed. You are wise and determined. Thankfully you know the balance of those two qualities.

Unknown said...

You have been inspirational to me and so many others Joan and knowing when to take a pause just adds to my admiration for you. I am 75 and a hiking fanatic so have been following your adventures daily, always amazed at how you make the best of any and all situations. Enjoy your time off - we will all miss you!!

Lin said...

No reason to be embarrassed...my goodness...what you have achieved!! I understand though, but please...be easy on yourself. Better we have you safe than not.

dlhviz said...

I continue to be amazed at what you have achieved! No need to be disappointed in yourself. I am impressed that you have been able to find even small bits of beauty to share
in the midst of the grueling trudge thru the snow.