True to the thru (Part 4 of 4) (Posted 30 November 2012, 08:16pm)

A lonely landscape.

This is the last part of the story of I'mfine's adventure. Excerpts from his journal are italicised. You can read part one here, part two here and part three here.

I cried with relief when I heard that I'mfine had staggered, dizzy and shaking, into Stehekin. I had felt physically sick for the last few days, and useless so far away on the other side of the Pacific. I desperately wanted to talk to I'mfine, to know what had happened, and to tell him to get off the trail. He was still 80 miles from Canada. A few details of his ordeal trickled through from his mother. I couldn't begin to imagine what she had been through in the last two weeks. I called her and gave her a message to pass on. I told I'mfine that I felt he should leave the trail, finish it next season. But that was easy for me to say... I had been able to finish. I also gave him some advice about the trail ahead, just in case he kept going, and in the back of my mind I knew that he would.

After deciding to continue north and complete my hike, my back pack was unbearably heavy, as I carried a ton of extra food. It had to be at least sixty pounds, the pack I carried into the Sierra being 55 pounds, and that didn't feel nearly as heavy as this.

The first twenty miles to Rainy Pass were all smooth sailing, then it started snowing, and by the time I reached Cutthroat Pass, a fresh three to five inches had fallen. As I approached Cutthroat Pass, the higher I climbed, the more snow was left over from the last storm, although it was frozen to a hard shell and very slippery and difficult to walk on. The north side of the pass was worse and wherever there was a steep ridge, the trail was completely snowed over, then frozen solid, making it nearly impossible, and completely terrifying, to traverse.

South of Harts Pass the trail was treacherous as well, and I had to traverse a section on one ridge on my knees, facing the mountain, and stabbing my trekking poles a foot into the snow to anchor myself to the mountain. North of Rock Pass I slid out and went about 100 feet down the ridge until stopping myself by digging my elbows and trekking poles into the ice and snow, then using my trekking pole as a break, slid down the rest of the way to the next switchback.

Several times it took everything I had to keep going. The last day it never got above thirteen degrees (-11 °C), and my nose was bleeding all morning from the cold dry air. By nightfall, before the sun had even finished setting, my thermometer maxed out at zero degrees (-18 °C). After the ice that had formed in my inflatable sleeping pad the night before stabbed a hole through it, I set up a bed of pine branches under my tent for extra warmth on the last night.

I'mfine walked into Canada, true to the thru, on 11 November.

I'mfine at the border!


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21 I made it.
15 About to catch the last bus for the season out of Stehekin and planning to walk out of America in four days time on the last day of my visa...
09 It looks like some bad weather is finally on the way. My rain gear might actually get some use! Tough climbs ahead but getting closer to Canada each day and with great group of fellow stragglers.

22 Quick stop in Cascade Locks to shower, do laundry, resupply, eat and 'rest'. Across the Bridge of the Gods, over the mighty Columbia river, into Washington today - the first day of autumn.
13 Resupply for Washington all sorted with some help from Mum, who is visiting on her way home from Europe. Now it is time to escape Bend and resume the race to Canada.

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Blog Archive

30 True to the thru (Part 4 of 4)
30 The waiting game (Part 3 of 4)
30 Something was wrong (Part 2 of 4)
30 A story that needs to be told (Part 1 of 4)
21 "I knew Typo would make it" (Part 6 of 6)
19 Throwing the Hail Mary (Part 5 of 6)
10 Up and down, but not out (Part 4 of 6)
06 Crossing Cutthroat Pass (Part 3 of 6)
03 Warming up in Winthrop (Part 2 of 6)

30 We're sleeping in a toilet (Part 1 of 6)
25 Another radio interview (Audio)
21 I made it
04 Nearly there

29 Trail Magic
19 Walking with Mum

28 Cold food
28 Hello Oregon!
20 40 miles in one day
08 Official trail name: Typo
06 (Humbolt) Summit Fever
06 Road walking around a wildfire

30 Two trail birthdays
18 A picture is worth...
10 Pain and gain in the Sierra

28 Hiker hunger
27 The inquisitive marmot
19 Stage one survived
05 Live from the Mojave (Updated)
04 I just walked 500 miles...

31 Current nemesis: Poodle dog bush
23 Mexico to McDonald's
23 Gear review: Sleeping pad
18 Hot and getting even hotter
12 Videos
12 Wildlife
10 People on the trail: Sunset
05 Eagle Rock
03 Hiker discount: 100%

30 The beginning
25 Final preparation
17 Blogging along the way
16 No publicity is bad publicity
08 Walking before the walk
08 Maps for the trail