In a moment of clumsy inattention

Things are warming up here. It got up to 40 F (4.4 C)today, which is sort of sad because the snow is no longer fluffy. Everything is drippy. My porch looked wet this morning, when I went out to start the generator, but it was icy and I slipped and fell hard; my back hitting the corner of the step.  I left my slippers lay where they had flown, hobbled back inside, took some ibuprofen and went back to bed. I forget to live carefully, sometimes. Sometimes, I live as carelessly as someone can, who lives in the city and who has health insurance.

On the trail I try to live carefully; the consequences of an injury could be great. I find that I hike more carefully and balanced by myself then when hiking with others. Ray Jardine, in the Pacific Crest Trail handbook, recommends not hiking alone through the Sierras, so, I started hiking with two other hikers in Kennedy Meadows. The partnership didn’t last long; I didn’t like hiking at someone else’s pace. I did enjoy the camaraderie and having someone to camp with at night. I started hiking at my own pace and meeting up with them, now and then and camped with them for a few nights.

We were all hiking together when we came to a swollen stream of glacial melt. The first guy walked across and he pointed at a log as the best way to cross. I didn’t think about it, I just crossed there. The log rolled and trapped my foot under it. I was trapped in a gushing stream of glacial melt up to my ribcage, I was thinking that I may die there. One of the guys was able to lift the log off my foot and I scrambled out. The other guy said, “See, that is why we should all hike together?.

That was a joyous moment when that log was lifted off my foot and I was happy and grateful that he had been there, but the lesson is not that you shouldn’t hike alone but that sometimes logs roll and also that you need to find your own way and not let others lead you.

We all parted ways soon after and I was happily walking at my own pace again, aware and edgy like a creature in the wilderness should be.

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Hermit, long distance hiker, primitive cabin dweller, seeker.

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