All night I’d wake up, hit my tent walls, and make sure I still had air pockets so I wouldn’t die. Whatever the snow equivalent of raining cats and dogs is, that’s what it was doing. If the Miller Peak Wilderness Area had school, it totally would have been cancelled.
I wanted to zero. I wanted to stay in my tent and do nothing. The last thing I wanted to do was move. But the forecast said more snow. The only way out was through.
It was still snowing but I bundled up and began breaking trail. Uphill through ankle + deep snow (a few patches of knee deep, but not many). The snow was so thick and heavy that at times I could go only 25 steps before taking a break.
There was a delightful (sarcasm) stretch along a ridge that I butt-scooted across because, NOPE. Big cheers to my dad for his great job patching my FrogTogs, and also to Gayle C from whom I inherited the Yak Traks that made the whole endeavor possible.
It was pretty dramatic. And when I was feeling super low, along came a woman moving quickly who passed me and said “We’ll make it.” It was exactly what I needed.
The psychological benefit of following someone’s footsteps was even greater than the physical benefit. That woman was who I needed, when I needed her. I have no idea who she was.
Finally I crested the last peak and began the slog downhill. As I descended, giant balls of snow fell from the trees. When I reached the canyon at the bottom, a cold rain had started and kept up the rest of the day.
I made it out of passage 1 and into passage 2 and I shivered for 2 hours before I was warm.