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The last day

The last day

Friday the weather was beautiful. The sun was warm on my skin and the sky was a magnificent sapphire blue.  I had my pick of any trial in the park (that was accessible) all to myself. I headed out after telling a couple of fellow campers were I was snowshoeing, which I highly recommend for anyone who, like me, is a FTS, Female Traveling Solo, or anyone who hikes alone.

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The “trail” I chose was 6.1 miles, and should take no more than 2 hours to complete. I say “trail” because you really couldn’t see a trail as it is covered in 6′ of snow. I was about 100 yards into my trek when I noticed someone before me had been sinking, deep. “HMMMMM,” I thought.  I tried to keep my steps light.  I could tell by the condition of the snow this person had been there a couple of days before me.  It was getting warm (40˙) and the snow was melting.

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My stride was short, not even the length of my snowshoes, I didn’t want to sink. My hiking app informed me I had gone one mile, IN AN HOUR!!!! This is nuts! As I head uphill I start to sink. When I reached the top of the hill I sank all the way to the bottom of my camera, which is strapped to the front of my backpack.

My tolerance limit had been met and I turned back. It was much warmer now and the snow was wet and soft. Every couple of steps, no more than three, I was sinking 2′ – 3′. The trek was miserable.

I am back on semi-flat terrain and feel like I am finally making progress when I spot fresh tracks going across my tracks. Coyote tracks . I am now looking in every direction with every tiny step I take. I reached for my knife and bear spray, just to make sure they were still with me.

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I can see my vehicle, I’m 100 yards from safety, when I sank. I sank deep. My left trekking pole sank all the way to the top of the grip and I fell forward on my knees. My snowshoes are stuck behind me with the backs sticking straight up in the air, my weight is on my knees and I am in chest high snow. My trekking pole won’t budge.

I quickly glance around looking for the hungry coyote, knowing I am dead should he come back.

I can’t move.

Over the top of the ridge I spot something, the coyotes head.

Panic and survival mode took over. My knife and bear spray were buried with me and inaccessible.

Somehow, I managed to get my backpack off and moved it out of the way. With my right trekking pole I feverishly began to dig the left pole out of the frozen ice far below the melting snow. It was finally free. I jabbed the poles into the snow and ice until I found a spot that would hold and slowly pushed myself up and out of the hole, the whole time keeping a watchful eye on the coyote. I don’t believe I’ve ever moved that fast in my life.

My eyes didn’t leave the coyote as I slowly trudged my way back down. I couldn’t understand why he hasn’t moved, not one inch. As I past the ridge I looked back. IT WAS A BUSH!!!! A bush! My panic-stricken brain played a very bad trick on me, but I was relieved.

Total miles? 3.
Total time? 4.5 hours.
Lesson learned. (Not really…, I’m kind of hard-headed.)

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