View Full Version : Very limited experience but I will never forget either trip

Olustee bus
03-26-2013, 11:54
I hope you experienced hikers will bear with me here as I describe the two times I hiked on the trail. Both were on Standing Indian (SIM)from the parking place off Deep Gap road.

Myself, a friend from Florida and an old college friend were going to Standing Indian for I think Three days and two nights. I had never really hiked overnight before so it was new to me. It was in August. We got to the base of the trail in mid afternoon and it was raining and storming. On the way up we had to stop as lightning was really threatening. Finally, we took off and reached the bald on SIM. Interesting place but could not see much for the clouds. We had nothing to do but pitch the tents and sit as it was raining pretty hard. Every once in a while I would get up and look around but not for long. I had no book or anything so I was really bored.

Stayed in the tent all afternoon and all night. Woke up the next morning, stepped out of the tent and saw something I had never seen before and really have not seen before. NOTHING! With the exception of the bushes around us, it was pure white and a blue sky for as far as I could see. It was breathtaking to me. Later that morning, a peak would stick through the cloud cover, then maybe another.Finally it cleared and we were able to hike around, really enjoying the scenery. That is the first time I ever (and the last) that I seen a bobcat in the wild.

The next trip was just as interesting but not as comfortable. It was in October and my college friend and I were going to meet on the mountain. My friend would be hiking up that night. I left from Florida and it was hot. I only had a thin sleeping bag and not even any long pants. Yeah, I was real stupid. I got me some blue Jeans in Atlanta and a sweatshirt as I found out rain was predicted.

IT was raining when I got to the base. I hiked up to the bald and pitched a tent as quick as I could. Had to stay in the tent all afternoon again. It got real cold. I thought I was going to die! I was half asleep when my friend got to the top of the mountain about 10 or 11 that night. I didn't get out of the tent (the rain had turned to light sleet). I told my friend that I was freezing to death. He told me to take my clothes off and lay the bag on top of them. That got me through the night.

Woke up that morning and snow covered everything. It was a beautiful sight again, I could see the snow covered mountains. A couple of hikers came by that morning and we were talking about the snow. One of em said "you oughta see the car at the base. You couldn't even tell what kind it was for all the ice!" I said, that would be mine.

Well both times were an experience I will never forget.

03-26-2013, 12:16
Good story, thanks for sharing.

Hot Flash
03-26-2013, 12:51
Summer before last, I went out to Colorado for a few days because I was so sick of the flatlands. At the time I had been living in Kansas for a few years, and if you are familiar with the flyovers, you know there's not much there in terms of good backpacking. I had only a four-day weekend to spend, but I was going stir-crazy not being able to get out and hike, so I drove out to the Collegiates on a Friday. Parked at the trailhead to the triple 14er combo of Mt Missouri/Belford/Oxford and slept in my truck that night.

I set my alarm to wake me up at 4am so that I could get on the trail early. Having lived in Kansas for a few years, I knew it was going to be a hard day having had only eight hours at altitude to acclimate. It was raining when I got on the trail, and started huffing my way while my wimpy flatland blood tried to carry enough oxygen for me. As soon as it got light, people started passing me on the trail. I felt so slow, and I wanted to quit several times when the switchbacks seemed steep and endless, but I didn't stop.

About a mile or two from the summit of Belford -- about five or six miles into my climb -- a group of five college-age boys came up behind me at what seemed like a run. They stopped to talk to me for a couple of minutes, asking where I was from and if I was okay. I am redheaded-Irish-pale so I normally get very red-faced when I exercise heavily. I'm sure it probably looked like I was going to have a coronary. I assured them I was just fine, albeit slow because from living in Kansas I wasn't acclimated to the altitude yet, and off they went. It was extra funny because they were taking turns carrying a good-sized ice chest up a 14,000'+ peak.

A couple hours later I finally got to the final summit approach which was a scramble up the rocks of a couple hundred feet. I stood at the bottom of that scramble taking a drink of water and catching my breath, so tired, and I then I heard cheering.

I looked up and there were the five college boys sitting on the top of Mt Belford, drinking beer out of the cooler full of ice. They started yelling "You can do it, Kansas! Climb, climb, climb!" and cheered me on the last few hundred feet. They had been sitting up there watching me slog my stubborn way through the switchbacks, drinking beer and making bets on if I'd make it before the daily thunderstorms rolled in and we had to beat a retreat.

I got to the summit about six hours after I started, well before the daily storms, and sat on the peak having a beer with a bunch of boys 25 years younger than me. Then after a little rest, we all dropped down across the saddle to hit Mt. Oxford, and managed to get back down off the peaks just as it started to rain. I set up camp in the valley beneath Belford that night, and bagged another 14'er the next day, Mt. Missouri.

Then I drove back to Kansas on Monday, tired as hell but glad that I'd had a chance to hit three 14'ers in one short weekend. It was a good weekend.

03-26-2013, 13:35
Thank you both for the terrific stories.

03-26-2013, 13:40
Great stories!
Hot flash, I'm impressed with your determination. Good for you!

Olustee bus
03-26-2013, 13:59
Nice to have those memories Hot Flash!

Hot Flash
03-26-2013, 18:42
Nice to have those memories Hot Flash!

I'm still astonished that they actually carried a cooler full of beer up there. :D

03-26-2013, 18:58
Both great stories...thanks!

03-26-2013, 19:18
Well both times were an experience I will never forget.

Keep hiking and so will the experiences. This is what real magic is.


Capt Nat
03-27-2013, 09:02
Yes, both great stories!! Thanks it's a shame when one gets to the point that they don't see the magic anymore...

03-27-2013, 09:47
After 40 years of backpacking, I think that our most memorable hikes also tend to pose the most challenges, be they weather, accident, injury, equipment, whatever. The events that spring to mind for me:

Waking up with a damp sleeping bag on my first-ever night on the AT with frost on the ground (DWG, April 1973)
Turtling down an embankment of ice almost into Sages Ravine creek (March 1975)
Battling hypothermia while ascending Mt. Everett through mist, rain, sleet then snow to an icy summit to stay in the old shelter (March 1975)
Pulling my Achilles tendon, forcing me off-trail, while trying to extract my boot from deep mud 15 miles south of Manchester Center, VT during a deluge of 14" of rain in 24 hours (August 1976)
Scurrying across the railroad bridge into Harpers Ferry (long before the AT footbridge existed) to get to the station to catch a train into D.C. (June 1979)
Scaling Little Jay Mtn. on the first full day of a SOBO thru-hike of the Long Trail on a 100-degree, humid afternoon, and then almost running down the mountain to get to the shelter just as the big, fat drops of an afternoon thunderstorm started hitting the tin roof of the shelter (August 1979)
Deciding to catch a ride into Stowe, VT after a sloppy wet morning with afternoon snow and 40 mph gusts. We tried to keep the motel room neat, but it was pretty filthy when we left the next morning (August 1976)
Almost freezing atop Camels Hump in the old, unheated cabin as the temperature plummeted, and then only covering 2.5 miles to the next shelter in a huge rainstorm the next morning (August 1976)
Waking up to a beautiful chilly sunrise (Mt. Everett, March 1975 & Starks Nest, August 1976)
Yogi'ing a ride back to our car with an older couple in their RV after another pulled Achilles forced me to end my SNP section hike (September 1988)
Post-holing through waist-deep drifts near Morgan Stewart Memorial Shelter (NY) (March 2001)
Running out of water at the end of the first day south from Loft Mtn. Campground (SNP), with 14 miles to cover on a warm day before Rockfish Gap. Fortunately, I found a small trickle near Calf Mtn. Shelter that got me through. (September 2002)
My first 20-mile backpacking day (Rockfish Gap to Maupin Field Shelter, September 2002)

...and others, if anyone is interested. Kind of fun to skim the old journals.