We'd already admitted to ourselves that we'd overestimated how fast we'd be able to travel and underestimated the rigor of the route. After three days on the trail, I received snow reports from friends via text, and we had a choice to make.
After discussions over breakfast, we packed up with the intention of staying at Elbow Landing that night, provided "The Barn" was available. After experiencing such kindness from the bed and breakfast's owners when we first arrived in the area, it seemed like a perfect place to seek refuge from the impending weather. It was a tough choice, without a doubt. I'd just gotten into the routines involved in setting up camp, cooking, prepping for bed, suffering through the cold, breaking camp, and doing it all over again the next day. It was nice to be away from the world.
I had this naive hope that I'd use the week in the wilderness to cleanse myself of all of the issues I left at home. (At the time, I was struggling with decisions about my post-college life, among other things.) I saw myself happy, refocused, and completely free of worry after it was all over. But we know it's not that simple. A friend of mine once told me that no matter where you go, you take you with you. No number of changes of scenery will magically make your troubles disappear. But I can dream, right?
|One of my favorite campsites from the trip. Spacious, and with a pre-built fire pit!|
|From the Elbow Landing driveway. Not a bad view!|
The next morning, we found a spot where the trail crossed the road, dropped the car in a nearby parking lot and walked in for about two hours. The weather was perfect, and much warmer. We found an unbelievable campsite next to a stream with a fire pit already built. I dropped my pack and went to collect firewood, namely as an excuse to run around on my own for a little while. The stream had carved little islands and I was hopping all over them, excited to just be in the woods again. The sun moved out of our path in the valley around 3pm and it got cold fast. Our MSR Whisperlite Stove clogged in the middle of preparing dinner, but we got it working again. That night, my partner in crime and I switched sleeping bags, and I slept much better in his 25º down bag than I had in my 30º synthetic bag.
|A journal page with the brochure for Elbow Landing, |
where we sought refuge from the trail.
I wished I'd been equipped to handle the cold weather, but given we'd had several successful days on the trail, I was ready to leave. The trip had been stressful on the two of us; dealing with making an early turnaround decision is never easy. Even if you and your trip partners are on the same page, when things don't go as planned, sometimes it's best to head home with lessons learned for next time.
One of the most important lessons I learned on this trip is to go with the flow. What's one lesson you've learned on a trip that hasn't gone as planned? I'd love to amass as many lessons as I can!