[pct-l] Stumbled across PCT-L archives going back to 1996 / Here's message #11 http://www.backcountry.net/arch/pct/

Catherine Middaugh catherine.middaugh at gmail.com
Mon Jan 15 16:08:34 CST 2018

Wow does this bring back memories. I've gotten lost in Big Basin State Park
more times than I can count. And 1996 was a high rain year. Thanks for the

On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 7:24 AM, Paint YW <paintyourwagonhikes at gmail.com>

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> <http://www.backcountry.net/arch/pct/9612/threads.html#00011>][pct-l] my
> adventure
> ------------------------------
>    - *Subject*: [pct-l] my adventure
>    - *From*: POLITECAT at aol.com
>    - *Date*: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 04:36:52 -0500
> ------------------------------
> i have a story to share with you all.
> i learned a important lesson from this and i hope you will to.
> last weekend i got up early and headed to big basin california planning to
> do
> my training hike i thought i would hike the 10.6 mile trail because it was
> a
> tough one and good practice. so i loaded up my pack with the usuala things.
> my nylon pants in case of colder weather. my fleece jacket and my rain
> jacket. my lunch and snacks. (dried veggies gorp and power bar.) in  the
> bottom of my pack lives my survial bag i use it  mainly for weight. and
> about
> 3 gallons of water. oh ya my walkman some tapes a hiking book and my camera
> so i payed for my day parking and hoisted my pack on my back and off i
> went.
> they ask you have a tleast 6 hours to hike the trail and i had a little
> more
> in case but felt i would only take about 5 hours tops. the sky was an
> overcast greyish hue. a teasing mist would fall semi often but i was hiking
> pretty fast and it felt good.
> well the trail signs were visable and for the first 3 hours i was doing
> great
> i was booking. and then it happened. somewhere i lost the trail and ended
> up
> way far from the park headquarters. you see they had had a fire and trail
> signs and what not had ben destroyed so i got out my map and compass (from
> my
> survival kit) and choose a direction to lead back. it was later than i was
> happy about but i was confandant i would make it. so i hiked and climbed
> and
> skidded (did i mention it had been raining off and on for a week) so things
> were soaked and puddles and creeks were everywhere. at some point i met up
> with a biker. as he passed i asked him if he knew what trail we were on and
> how far from the main headquarters. he said wow it is way that way this is
> the >>>>>> trail and he gave me some directions to follow so i smiled
> thanked
> him and tromped on. almost running . there was only about 1.5 hours of good
> light left and i was still sure i would be ok and make it back soon. i had
> rivers to cross soaking my feet in freezing water and squishing my way
> onwards. so i reached a big main trail/road and followed the signs there
> and
>  ganced up at the deepening grey sky. soon i reached a cut off my road
> ended
> and broke off without any real trail signs and so i followed the most
> promentant trail which ended at a crossroads. there was a sign it had been
> placed against  a tree either knocked down before or burned. i searched for
> the orginal post marks in the ground so i could confirm the pointers but to
> no avail so i took the shortest trail or so i thought the arrow pointed
> straight ahead to a path of sorts it was overgrown and had a lot of debri
> on
> it but because i was racing agaist the clock i just went for it. the trail
> was sparatic disapearing and reappearing and yet it seemed well used. i was
> slightly iffy about it but grey was changing to black if i could find the
> trail a clear trail i could follow it even in the dark. but the farther in
> i
> got the smaller and less travable the traail became until it just
> disappeared.  by this time i had maybe about half and hour of light so i
> pulled out the map and saw that there should be a trail above me somewhere.
> it was longer than i wanted but at this point any trail was needed. so i
> began climbing around fallen trees through leaves and debri slipping and
> sliding on the wet leaves. i tried climbing up and when i reached a point
> that looked clear i found my way blocked by weeds and bushes rocks and more
> steep climbs. so i rethought my plan. i heaard a creek and knew the creek
> was
> heading towards the other main path and to the park rangers. so i changed
> directions following my compass reading towards the east. i slipped down a
> hill scraping my legs pretty bad and then had to climb another steep mud
> incased mountain my only hold was a razor sharp weed that as i slipped
> sliced
> my legs and hands although it did save me from falling. so i crossed a
> small
> creek and tried to follow it as well as keep my heading east. by this point
> it was a light black. and becuase i was under heavy trees even darker the
> shawdows had turned to intertwining cover. coating the ground with black .
> i
> was fighting my brains need to reach safty and my knowledge i waas staying
> somewhere near tonight. as i started off one more time i somehow ended up
> in
> a bog of mud so thick i must have looked like one of those old time
> comedians
> swaying left and right with out falling. my shoes would not come out and i
> struggled a few precious minutes and then one by one they popped out. so
>  when i reached safe ground i looked for a place to stop and set up a mini
> camp.  found a grove with good shelter some good  lookiing shelter and not
> to
> far from where i  ended. so in the mornig i could begin where i ended.
> instead of wandering amlessly in a circle. so i sat down opened my pack (by
> now i was cold tired hungry and shaking my head at my new adventure. so i
> pulled out my nylon pants my fleece jacket and my rain jacket. i put them
> on
> and then opened my survial bag. no flashlight. but a candle two clear
> plastic
> bags a space bag and a lighter. i also found some pitch wood my knife and
> my
> metal match. i had also for some strange reason put a water proof pack
> cover
> in my pack. hey great i thought ground sheet. so i started my adventure by
> tring to start a fire .i tried forever i found some semi dry wood rotted to
> bits some dead branches but everything was so wet and it was so dark i
> swear
> in a blink of an eye the sky became black as the bowels of hell. leaving my
> and my lighter alone. so i finally gave up on the fire. i burned some pages
> of my book warming my hands then i made my bed. i opened my bag took off my
> soaking shoes slipped in to the bag then put the plastic bag over it. i
> then
> buried my curled up legs and feet and some of my back in leaves and mud as
> much as i could find near my. i pulled the bag up and then although i was
> feeling sick to my stomach and shaking like a belly dancer over drive. i
> made
> myself eat my gorp nuts and choclates coconuts and raisins. i gagged a
> couple
> handfuls down and drank as much water   asi could then pulled the bag over
> my
> heaad. right before i covered my face i looked up at the sky laughed a
> little
> that i was sleeping out here and thinking all i need now is for it to rain.
> now i do not know about you all but if you have ever thried to sllep in a
> space bag and plastic bag it makes one feel kind of like a carton of jiffy
> pop every movemnet is crinkle crinkle and crunch crunch. but i did slumber
> for a while waking to the sound of ping ping plop plop. yes you guessed it
> it
> had started to rain so i thought quick and pulled out my other plastic bag
> opened it up poked a hole in the bottom corner near the seams and pulled it
> over my head placing my mouth through the hole. then i buried my body more
> snuggled down making sure the top bag was over the other bags so water
> would
> run off and not in the bags. sleeping was a impossiblaty. i was so cold
> and i
> wanted to stay aware of my body and i found that by every so often moving
> around (not alot just lighting the candle burning my book or scooping more
> leaves ) made me warmed and made me feel in control of me. it was so cold
> and
> so dark but i knew i would survive and make it out tomorrow. and soon the
> sky
> began to lighten and the rain slacked and i knew morning was almost upon
> me.
> i must have slept a hour or so for when i  awoke the sky was a oveercast
> grey
> of morning. so i packed up all my stuff the papers the bags (by the by
> those
> space bags are flimsy my tore half way through the night ) i was left with
> pices wrapping them around what ever was the coldest. so i ate some veggies
> and some gorp(yummy breakfast) i knew i had about 6 miles to the station
> and
> all day to find it so i wanted to try to find the trail i lost last night
> first i figured if i could not find it then head east. so i walked back
> sort
> of the way i came and somehow ended up finding the trail and followed it
> back
> to the main sign i took a different trail and low and behold three hours
> later just 24 after i started i was back to my car.  i reported in to the
> rangers and they yelled at me i did not tell anyone where i was going. i
> was
> hiking alone and they had no way to get a hold of my bosses. (it was there
> car in the lot) so i earned a bunch of lessons. next time tell rangers i am
> alone and where i am going. i went out today and bought silver nylon and am
> making my own bag same size better wear. and i am going to practice the
> fire
> thing.  so i hope you enjoyed my story and maybe learned never ever go any
> where with out your survial gear you never know what might happen.
> ps i do need to say that if i had not taken the survial class i would be
> dead. i would have had on cotton i would not have had any of the clothes i
> had with me or the survial gear. i am also proud of me becaus ei did not
> panic freak or cry i did not worry or afraid. i was calm and found humor in
> it. so i hope to talk with you all soon have a great weekend and smile. the
> world is a beautiful place.
> wendy aka polite cat at aol.com.
> or as i call myself now wendy the forest  queen goddess of the woods.
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