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Saturday, March 25, 2023

A Cascade of Errors - Day 386

I'll just tell you right up front that a) we are all fine, but b) I did not come back here to continue to hike in winter conditions.

Bill (my buddy Bill is here!) and I started off at 8 am on trail with well-crusted snow maximum depth about 8 inches with multiple bare spots. Yes, there was a winter storm headed our way, but we were going to be done before that even hit. It was moving up from the south, and we were only going to go 10 miles.
hiker in winter woods

Error #1- we did not take the snowshoes. Error #2- There was a place to park so we could have chosen to do only 7.5 miles today. We chose 10.

How those errors played out.

#1- The snow was humpy and uneven. The light was flat and it was hard to see the humps, but we found them with our feet. I was stumbling all over the place. There were some stretches where the snow was over a foot deep and not packed hard enough. Bill did some postholing, but I kept breaking through a lot. We can't quite figure that one out since I am lighter. My feet are smaller, with less surface area on the soles, but you'd think proportionally we'd be about the same. Not. I fell down a LOT. Not exactly falling, but getting one leg stuck in deep and then having to crawl out. Needless to say, we were not making good time.

#2- As a result of #1, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to do the full 10 miles. Bill walked ahead to get to the car, so that he would drive back around and pick me up at the 7.5 mile place. Hopefully, I wouldn't have to wait in the cold very long.

There is puncheon under this hump. A lot of these humps weren't nearly so wide. You'd think it would be obvious how to stay on it, but it was more difficult than you would think. I slipped off the edge many times, and Bill did once- always resulting in falls- Not serious ones, but you land in awkward positions and still have to get up.

Speaking of cascades, I stepped on one uneven spot and was thrown backwards. Bill tried to hold me up, but I couldn't get my leg underneath me, and we both went down like dominoes.
snowy trail

There were some beautiful parts of the trail, despite the difficulties. This is the North Branch of the Carp River. We were really glad there was a good bridge. I'm standing on it looking back at Bill
Carp River near Brevort MI

And at Taylor Creek we saw a mink! It swam around and then sat and looked at us a bit. Bill took this picture because by then it was snowing enough that I had put my camera in the pack. I have better zoom capability, but I knew I'd scare it if I took off the pack and moved around that much. All this does is prove we saw it, but that's better than nothing. I have seen them in the wild before, but this was a really nice sighting. It sat and looked at us for several seconds.
mink by creek

Error #3- When Bill got to my car it was stuck. Our best guess is that the heat from the car when I parked melted the snow and the car sank just enough that he had to spend time digging it out, and in the end had to call for help from the person we are staying with.

Error #4- Because the trail was so difficult, Bill went on alone, so he had to shovel and work on the car by himself. I was waiting at the previous road crossing, but by now, we'd spent so long walking that the storm had begun. The snow was heavy and wet. Some of you may remember that my phone is about as useful as a brick in the cold. That has only gotten worse. I waited for 30 min, and then decided I needed to plug the phone into the power pack and see where Bill was. Eventually, that's how I found out he was stuck. But the phone was a pill to use. My hands were wet and wouldn't work on the touch screen. I was getting quite wet. So I put on the poncho and walked back and forth at the trailhead to keep warm.

I was there for 90 minutes before the guys were able to pick me up.

And then, we had to go back to get Bill's car where we had left it in the morning. The roads had been perfectly clear, or at least hard-packed snow, in the morning. By now it was 3 pm, and there was about 8 inches of heavy, wet snow.
snowy road

Welcome back to the trail, eh? This isn't supposed to last long. It's supposed to be 40 degrees and sunny tomorrow. We will wear snowshoes, and plan on under 10 miles.

You know I don't like to be negative, but I can't do 300 miles like today. That's why I went home in December. My hips and knees were most unhappy. But we are heading into spring. It has to get better, right?

Miles today: 7.4. Total miles so far: 4381.6.

See Two Towers, Two Trailers


barbmi said...

This makes me shoveling a path to the garage so I didn't have to wear boots to the store look pretty pathetic. I'm sorry you had a difficult first day. It will get better!

Peter Nordgren said...

Welcome to the UP, eh? It will get better. As you go, think of Robert Traver, who so loved this rough land.

Ann said...

That was some rough day. Hope it only gets better from here.

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