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Re: [pct-l] Best things you've seen while backpacking

--On Friday, September 04, 1998, 10:30 AM -0700 "Karl Brandt"
<brandt@snf.Stanford.EDU> wrote: 

> Okay now that we've all agreed to stop these personal attacks and get
> back to why we go out there in the first place, anybody want to share
> those memorable moments when everything just seems perfect out there.
> I'll start with a few I remember from last year.
Karl, and others,

This may not be relevant since I've not thruhiked the PCT, but as
backpackers, you can probably relate to it:

On an evening of a day when I'd spent several hours accessing a
nearly-to-timberline lake in the Absaroka-Beartooths Wilderness,
accidentally soaking my boots in a cold creek crossing, being snowed on,
experiencing mild hypothermia (requiring me to get into my sleeping bag
while it was still light), I was watching a large snowbank about a mile away
being lit up by the alpenglow.  Just when the orange iridescence seemed to
be at its peak, a crack in the snowbank started on the left and went all the
way across.  The separated snow didn't slide or slough off; it just hung
there on this nearly vertical face of rock.  There was no sound.  I know it
was just an ordinary natural event, but after the day of challenge and
decisions, it was serene for the day to come to a close that way.

On a trip along the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado, my brother and I
misread the topo and ended up on a snowmobile trail miles from our intended
destination.  By the time we discovered our mistake, we'd travelled a couple
miles out of our way that we'd have to retrace, and then do another three
miles to get to our campsite for the night.  This stupid mistake was
compounded by the fact that I'd injured my knee requiring us to cancel our
planned traverse of a 300-mile segment of the Colorado section of the CDT. 
Somewhere along the way back to where we'd left the connecting trail to the
CDT, I stopped to rest and berate myself for having gotten injured.  In the
midst of some intense self-disgust and oral chastisement, I heard a little
kind of animal sound and looked up.  Not more than fifteen feet from me was
a small elk calf hidden beneath the drooping branches of a tree.  The parent
elk may have been around but I couldn't see it and hadn't detected it in the
fifteen minutes or so I'd been there.  That little apparition brought my
meager troubles into perspective.  It was like a little word from God,
saying, "Hey, what's your problem?"

It's these kind of experiences that keep us coming back to the trail despite
all the toil and sweat, huh, Karl?

Craig Smith
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