make my own trail down in probably half the time.....
Well, I'll be damned is about right. When I was on the PCT in 2012, I'd already heard the stories of the past, like the couple on Mt San Jacinto, who wandered off on a day hike, further and further down a box canyon, to a point where they could no longer go back the way they came, or go any further down. That couple was sort of lucky. Well, luckier than the hiker they came across, who had been stuck in that same spot for over a year, and when they found him, he had perished a long time before their arrival. They used his gear to start a fire in order to prompt fire crews to come to the area, and therefore find them and rescue them. (in which they did get in trouble for starting the fire, but also didn't die there on the mountainside)
I had also heard the story of a trail-legend, BillyGoat, being in the same sort of scenario in the high sierras, being trapped in a box canyon and luckily having cell reception enough to get a 911 call out, and to be rescued by helicopter, sans all hiking gear. Now I am not sure on the merit or truth of that story, but nonetheless, I knew the risks of going down a canyon or mountainside, and there being a point where it is impossible to go any further in either direction, up or down.
Luckily, this story ends with me getting back up to the trail safely and on my own, successfully scrambling up the shale and loose granite. It took some effort, I was completely winded, and wasn't sure I could make it up until the point I pulled myself back up onto the PCT. It was a humbling lesson. Just stay on the trail man. There is a reason the trail winds way around this cliff face.Why do I think I am smarter than the trail builders who have poured over the topography of the area, and made a route that is safest and most likely to not leave you stranded.
That one ended alright, but it was one of my scariest moments on the PCT.
|Sonora Pass Area (picture taken from Google Images)|