Wednesday, December 22, 2010

November 6 2010: day 1

And so it begins . . .

7:00am - Derek and Harold hop in the van and head up to the Cascade Range with Harold's wife and daughter. With snow on the road, the duo was only able to come within a 1/4 mile of the trail head.

Derek Arneson

Harold Wood

The trek up the road to the trail is steep and 51-year-old Harold remembers thinking within the first 200 meters, "Holy crap! My lungs are already burning!" Still the team pressed on.

"When we were only a mile in," remembers Harold, "We were going up a steep climb over sharp rocks and I felt a 'POP,' and thought, 'Is that my foot?'" Come to find out, the 260 pounds of Harold paired with the 100 pounds strapped to his back proved too much for the nylon shank in the sole of his boot. Knowing there was over 36 yards of hand-rolled duct tape, the outdoorsman's cure-all, in his pack, Harold pressed on.

Hoping to cover three miles from the trail head, Harold and Derek felt surprisingly good at the two mile marker and continued on for another 2 miles making it all the way to Upper Lake by 5:00, just in time to set up camp, repair Harold's boot shank with duct tape, hang-up a couple of  tarped hammocks, and cook up dinner.

"It was a horrible, horrible attempt at clam chowder," groaned Harold remembering the meal. "The chowder mix had so much pepper that it was inedible! After twenty minutes the potatoes still hadn't re-hydrated but we ate it anyway. And here we thought that it was going to be a treat for our first night out. Not!"

It was dark. They were fed. It was time to slip off boots, crawl into hammocks, snuggle into a bivey sac covered sleeping bag and snooze and recharge.

Mother Nature had other ideas.

First was 35mph winds and rain. Then it was hail pounding their tarps. Still, after a few hours of the constant barrage, the two fell asleep to the roar of the storm swirling around them.

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