Backpacking, Round 1 (Part 3)

Wanted to continue writing about our first backpacking trip to Sequoia National Park.  Parts 1 and 2 here and here.  So our goal for our second day was to do an out-and-back to a grove of Sequoias called Redwood Meadows.  We had been told that one of the bridges on the way had been washed out, but that there was a way to still get there, it just required a longer hike.  We got an early start, and it was still a bit chilly when we got going.  About a quarter of mile after starting out, we came to our first creek crossing of the day, Mehrten Creek.  This was the same creek we were camping by.

The creek was moving quick, and it seemed pretty deep.  A guy who was filtering water in the creek said he was camping nearby and that there was a log a little bit upstream that he had been using to cross.  Without thinking, we headed upstream and found the log.  It did not inspire confidence.  It was less than a foot wide and stripped of all its bark.  Looking back on it, if we hadn’t run into someone who said they had crossed that log, I don’t think Sarah and I would have tried it.  Some sort of psychological grip was on it to cross this log.  I also blame not being fully awake yet and our lack of experience crossing waterways.

My Kaylands were already slippery from just getting in the water near the log.  Sarah decided to take a crack at it first.  She took several quick steps and jumped off the log onto a large rock and made it safely to shore.  Later, she said she used her yoga training to center herself.  Unfortunately, I don’t do yoga.  I got one foot on the log and decided to go for it.  Nimble as a mountain goat, I got one step onto the log and promptly fell.  Somehow I was able to stop myself from falling all the way by grabbing the log with my arms.  Now I was in some frigid water, that was moving much faster than I thought.  So much so that I couldn’t get my feet down, so for about 10 seconds I just held on.  Once the shock of the coldness, the wetness, and the falling had worn off I got my feet down into about waist deep water, and was able to wade my way to the rock Sarah had gotten to.

So, less than 15 minutes into our hike I’d gotten my boots completely soaked, all my clothes wet, and my body quite cold.  Sarah insisted we go back to start a fire and get me warmed.  I said I’d be ok, my pants and shirt were quick-dry and I had my Keen sandals, and once we got moving I would warm up.  My fleece was soaked through, and we tied it around Sarah’s pack to dry.  We tied my boots to the outside of my bag.  My Gregory backpack had done remarkably well, the outside was completely dry, despite being mostly submerged when I was hanging on the log.  Some water had gotten in the top of the bag, which resulted in one ruined bag of trailmix, but otherwise no harm.  And off we went.

A little while later, I stopped to take a picture.  Then I realized my camera had been in a mesh hip pocket on my backpack.  It was wet.  Not good.

So that’s why there’s no pics with this post (or any to follow about this trip).  Valuable lesson learned:  always figure out the way that is comfortable for you and take the time to figure what that entails.  Sarah and I approached water crossings with a whole new perspective after this.  We’d soon get to test out this new perspective.

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2 Responses to “Backpacking, Round 1 (Part 3)”

  1. Sarah Says:

    I’m thankful to still have a boyfriend. Lesson learned.

  2. Backpacking, Round 1 (Part 4) « Nothing to Write Home About Says:

    […] Nothing to Write Home About Just another WordPress.com weblog « Backpacking, Round 1 (Part 3) […]

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