My heart sank. What the...? I had forgotten to pack lunch! I had packed a few snacks and dinner, but in my haste to go I had omitted an important item--calories! Wanting to go light, I had not brought a stove, opting for a dinner of tortillas, tuna, cheese, peppers and spinach. I also had: four Oreos, one granola bar, a 100 calorie pack of Goldfish crackers, and a Twix. (I know, not ideal nutrition. Typically I pack better, but in my defense I was in California all week and didn't have time to shop. Thus, the left over fire lunch raid)
I had just had a fruit and veggie smoothie for breakfast and hadn't eaten on the trail. While this wasn't a desperate situation, I knew I'd be hungry. Thoughtfully, I munched on the granola bar and crackers. At least I would be hungry in a beautiful setting.
T had her own difficulties, having run out of stove fuel the day before. I told her about the cold soak method of rehydrating food, and she went off to try it. (It actually works.) After our "dinner", we found ourselves shivering in a cold breeze. Fall was definitely here. I so wish we could have endless alpine summer, but we never do.
We wandered across the lake basin and onto a plateau where I had never been. But finally at seven we had to call it due to cold. We crawled in our respective tents, whipped by wind. The intermittent howl made it hard to sleep. Should we have dropped lower than 8,000 feet? Probably.
|Looking down at Aneroid Lake|
Luckily, T has the admirable quality of not getting mad or flustered when things aren't going well. "Here's a game trail," she said. We abandoned the gully and began walking sideslope. "Should we just go downhill?" she asked. I paused. "I just don't know where we are right now," I said, eyeing the slopes around us. Would we have to go back up? I knew it wasn't a desperate situation, but I really didn't want to go back up.
"Look!" T said, She pointed. There was the main trail! How could it be? Then I realized: we had come down a forbidding gully I had often seen on my way to the right turn-off. I had often wondered if it was passable. Now I knew: it was. Sort of.
Hangry, cold, misplaced and sleep-deprived: was it worth it? Of course it was. How could I have passed up this view?