We exited our trail at 11:00 PM.
|We could see the parking lot, we were SAFE.|
Gorgeous day in the gorge!
Our turn-back time, was about 4pm. That means we turn back, no matter what. But that was not what happened. I decided to press on...I was SO CLOSE! I wanted to hit my goal. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. We decided to add a bit of trail to make a loop down Mt. Defiance trail. Again STUPID, we hadn't mapped it out, we turned down a wrong trail and had to traverse in the brush, navigate two boulder fields to find our trail again. Thank you GPS! Two hours later, we hit the connecting trail at about 4200-4500ft in elevation. We started descending, 2 hours past our turn back point. I had spent every ounce of energy to reach that point and had a VERY steep trail to navigate down. I knew by the rate of our descent, we were going to be in the dark at the end. I had no idea, it would be THAT late.
Each step was agony...for those who know me I struggle with my feet in descents. I've been professionally fitted twice, yet no relief. So each step down hurts. My muscles were past their atrophy point, I shook on every step, and I was descending 1200ft per mile straight down. Tisha, bless her, kept me on track. I tripped a total of three times, catching myself fairly well. I scooted down a few steep scree slopes. I was filthy by the end!! We crossed a 10ft or so stream-I about lost it when I saw it. I hate the stream crossings in the daylight! We finally were street level and had about 1/2 mile to walk to my car. I discovered then my phone was out of charge.
What we did right.... we were prepared for this contingency. In fact, if we had to stay the night, we could do that too. Tish and I carry fully-stocked backpacks. I'll never traverse a trail without one.
I'm currently reassessing my current physical ability to go higher. I still carry so much weight, and the extra weight took its toll on me last night. I hit my physical limit, my mph on the trail needs to come up to accomplish anything higher than 4000 ft in gained elevation.
I am so grateful for continued support of my friends. Last night told me where I stand in the hearts and minds of those around me. People that I know I can count on.
Thank you Dave!
Thank you Tisha!
I could not have come down that mountain without you.