Mountaineering: Part I
It had been raining all day, and now at higher elevation the rain had turned to snow. My already seventy pound pack felt like it had gain another ten pounds from all the water it had absorbed, and it seemed to get heavier at every step. Our team of eight had hiked about three miles at this point, darkness was setting in quickly and camp needed to be set up yet. We reached a flat clearing and decided to start setting up camp. We were about a thousand feet away from the lake which was our desired destination but building shelter and getting dry had taken first priority. I dropped my pack, grabbed my head lamp and a shovel and started to look for a good place to build a shelter. We found a spot in a little group of trees and started digging in the deep fresh powder. Each time I moved, I could feel the moisture now slowly seeping through my jacket, making all my layers damp and cold. I was completely miserable. I could start to feel a negative attitude creep in, I fought it. The shelter was built and eight of us crawled into a crammed and cold tarp shelter. We set up stoves inside, trying to generate some warmth. We had also added a mega-mid onto the shelter which was now leaking water onto us. I sat there, staring at the stove flame, trying not to move and touch my wet outer layers with my skin. It was up to me to decide how to respond to the situation and determine my attitude.
It was the best trip I have ever been on.
To be continued…
Frank is finishing his first year with the Explore program, and he plans to return next year as an Explore intern! Frank is from Picture Butte, is the oldest of seven kids, loves kayaking, and enjoys a good cold glass of milk.