Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The World's Worst 14er Attempt

I planned everything correctly.  I looked up trail routes, printed directions, pictures, maps.  We packed everything we could possibly need: knives, first aid, food, water, layers, toilet paper, sunscreen, poles, headlamps, etc.  We woke up on time, packed the campsite quickly, made it to the trailhead parking lot just before 5am.  All of the prep work goes out the window when you don't actually start the hike on the trailhead.  I can't explain why I thought going out of the parking lot back onto the road made more sense than going to the far end of the parking lot (not that far away) to the actual trailhead.  Blame it on my last 14er hike which involved miles of hiking on a dirt/rock road rather than an actual trail.  Blame it on the dark, the early hour, the lack of sleep.  Blame it on overeagerness to start and summit.  Blame it on the fact that the wrong trail actually matched up more closely to the actual trail directions than any wrong trail should have (the first stream crossing mileage was a little off, and the second stream was more like a stream and a beaver dam marsh, and we didn't come out of tree line to the view of the peak when I thought we would, but it still was close enough that my thoughts were looking forward, not back.)

I have nothing to say except that I still keep hoping that it was a bad dream.  If there is a stronger word than incredulous, I'm there.  Total stats for the disaster: 11.3 miles, 5 hours, 2 horrific stream crossings (4 if you count both ways), almost 8 hours of driving, two days gone, and 0 summits.  We never even made it truly above tree line.  I feel like something straight out of the pages of Dumb and Dumber (Floyd, you idiot, the town is that way!)  I feel like I'm suffering a minor form of PTSD from my stupidity.  I hear running water and I'm envisioning the streams; I see a sock and I have flashbacks to Mary ringing hers out; I see a rock and suddenly I'm back on the trail--the wrong trail; I see the trail mix on the counter and I want to vomit; I see a picture of the mountains and my throat tightens.  I still don't know whether to cry or to put my fist through a wall.  I'd rather laugh about it but I don't see that happening for a good long while.  I lay awake last night just picturing it over and over in my mind, trying to figure out how I could do something that wasn't even on my radar of how to screw this up.  I'm hoping that writing about it will help me process, because I don't want another night like that.
Still dark, still stupidly naive, already on the wrong trail.
Mary wringing her socks out after the second stream crossing.  See video on facebook for why her socks were wet.

Above my head is Mt. Massive.  This is shortly after the nice campers looked at us like we were morons and pointed behind us saying, "That's Mt. Massive" when I asked where the trail was.
A better view of Massive from the back side.  Not the side you are supposed to climb.
And Massive from the front side (after we were back on the road).  This is the side you are supposed to climb. And also, you can see why it's called Mt. Massive.
I can't decide which I'm more upset about: the epic failure and the wasted time and energy and the disbelief that something like this could even happen and the knowledge that I'll have to do it all again, or the fact that I'm so upset about something that turned out to be a gorgeous day hike in the gorgeous mountains.  I shouldn't be having PTSD about hiking in Colorado.  Since I can't undo it, and I can't make it any different, I just have to resign myself to accept that it is the dumbest thing I have EVER, EVER, EVER (add 76 more EVERs and you are close) done, and try to move on.  Until I'm able to move past it, I'm not sure I would recommend hiking with me.

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I reserve the right to make this blog as worthless to read as I feel like, and also to write as infrequently as I deem necessary. Just thought I'd let you know since I finally decided to share my blog.