[Cdt-l] the lost pack idiot

Ron Dobra ghsron at gmail.com
Fri Aug 28 17:39:07 CDT 2009

Well, after 2 beautiful weeks going south from Silverton (now in Salida) and
the prospect of an enjoyable hike weather wise to Mexico, I feel it's time
to confess. I am that "un named" hiker San Gabriel referred to who lost his
pack in the vicinity of Rock Spring 18 miles south of Monida Pass, Montana.
There was quite a buzz back at the motel in Lima by the time I returned, so
I thought I'd set the story straight. In short, at the end of the day, I had
hiked the pass up to and through the spring, and following Wolf's direction
to walk by the trough and ascend the meadow, I failed to notice faint tread
to the left going up the valley and crossed to climb the meadow ascending
the ridge directly ahead, thus becoming, yet again, misplaced. I wandered
around a while, tried to figure my gps screen (I did not then have OOO's
magical mystery tour), suddenly felt tired, angry, etc., found a flat place
and decided to camp (6pm), to take up the chase in the am. Putting down pack
and gps, for some reason I decided to see what was on the other side of the
stand of trees topping the ridge, and brightly followed the setting sun for
a bearing. Getting back down to the valley floor, I thought I saw a post at
the valley head, and walked up the valley floor to find indeed a CDT
marker...yea. I then thought I'd "triangulate" my way back to the pack.
Well....I searched until the darkness and a cold wind made me burrow under
some tree branches...shorts, t shirt and long shirt being worn, bandanna,
cap, dipping cup, and a small amount of gorp I grabbed before setting out
were my only resources. I shivered through the night, eating gorp to make
heat. The whole next day I searched, returning periodically to the spring
for water. At one point I stripped a big pile of spruce boughs for a nest
next to the spring. After 12 hours of searching I returned to the nest, very
hungry and starting to worry about hypothermia..if it rained I was toast.
The next day I had to decide whether to look some more, try to hike back (I
was not sure of my strength), stay at the spring and hope someone might come
by...it was so seductive to think I could find my pack any minute and all
problems were solved. I looked in the am, came to the spring and met San
Gabriel, who gave me some granola bars, an emergency plastic poncho, and his
fuzzy pink blanket. I went back up for a few hours of searching, and around
"suppertime" in came sobo Duane, who had got the story from SG...Duane saved
my sorry butt...had lot's of extra food which he cooked up for me, extra
down clothing, and the determination he would stay until we figured out a
solution. I spent the second night (almost warmly) in my nest, and the next
day we conducted a grid search using gps and compass over a large area...I
always had a feeling we were at it in a certain section, but did not find
anything, including the poles. After another night, he gave me food for the
walk back to Monida (and $100 loan) and continued south. Having NOTHING in
the way of ID, the folks at MT. View Motel advanced me cash on the credit
card receipt they had in the register from my stay...I started the ID/bank
ball rolling, took a bus to Oregon for sanctuary at my sisters' (a scary
trip with no papers), re equipped for $1,800 (ouch) and jumped back on at
Silverton so as to not worry about weather in the San Juans, etc. Wyoming
will give me a goal for next summer.
So...query...what happens IF you were to lose YOUR pack..we most all set it
down at some time to get water down the ravine, look for a dump place,
etc...I still don't know how or why we could not find the thing, but we
didn't....food for thought and discussion. cheers
ron "zen quake" dobra
at '89, pct '07, cdt sectioned '09
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