Wednesday, December 22, 2010

November 8: day 3

Harold was sick.

The chicken soup from dinner had made it's way back up during the night. Still, Harold wanted to keep going north toward the goal of the Columbia Gorge.

Derek disagreed with Harold pointing out that not only was Harold sick, but Derek's sleeping bag was wet.

Surprised by this news, Harold had no idea that Derek had been sleeping in a wet bag for the past two nights. Derek's bivey sac failed the first night in the driving rain and had been wet ever since.

The two proceeded to try and dry the bag with their stoves but it was no use. The bag was not going to dry in the cold.
Knowing that a wet sleep sac was much more dangerous than the flu, Harold and Derek made the tough decision to turn around.

"It was snowing like a banshee," remembers Harold when Derek spotted bear tracks crossing the trail.

"Our tracks were filling up with snow within 10 minutes," said Harold, "and yet I could still see the the bear's claw marks in the snow. That woke me me up real quick!" Checking to make sure his gun was still on his hip, Harold and Derek hiked as fast as they could, stopping for Harold to puke every hour or two.

When it was time to take a break, Derek suggested that it would be better for them to stay the night at Horseshoe Lake, which had restrooms, instead of Breitenbush Lake.

"I wondered why the restrooms were that important to him," smiled Harold, "until Derek explained that he wanted to stay the night inside them rather than set up and tear down camp since I was sick." This seemed to make even more sense considering that Derek's bag was wet and the shelter of a restroom would keep them extra dry and warm.

With a towel taped over the vent to keep in the heat, a plastic bag was put over the toilet to keep the smell at a minimum. They laid tarps on the floor, slipped their sleep sacs into more plastic bags and set them up on either side of the john. Harold joked saying, "At least I don't have far to go if I have to throw up again!" while Derek made mashed potatoes and gravy. A big hit that Derek enjoyed and Harold was able to keep down.

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