Sunday, August 12, 2007

Take a Hike

Lava Walk

I am taking the time now to recount an adventure from my solo road trip somewhere in Idaho. I pulled off the road to Craters of the Moon National Monument to view a lesser park that was equally volcanic in nature. The park, known as Hell’s Half Acre, was accessed by a short dirt road off the main highway. At the parking lot were a small picnic area, a toilet and a trail head. The trail offered two options, basically short, marked by blue painted poles and long, marked by red ones.

One blue pole

I opted for blue as I had a long way to go that day. I loaded my trusty camera in a pack and my water bottle. The hike was noted to be unimproved and I soon learned why. It was a scramble across hills and valleys of raw volcanic rock. Often there was no clear trail and no footprints visible to mark which way to go. At times I lost track of the blue poles and once I double checked that I hadn’t mixed up blue and red paths.
Hiking alone in the wilderness strange and morbid thoughts come to one. No one knew exactly where in the northwest corner of the country I actually was which put me at more risk than I cared to think about. However, then and now, I stand by the philosophy that reasonable risk is necessary to live a worthy life.
One, practical, fear was that I could turn an ankle or break a bone and have to drag myself back along the so called trail. I have a fondness for “lost in the wilderness” stories and one I read recently was about a man who was gravely injured while mountain climbing and barely managed to drag himself back after falling in a crevasse and being left for dead. While there were no crevasses of the ice kind near me, I did conjure up a vision of trying to crawl across the razor sharp lava around me. I might then have had cause to regret wearing shorts.

Crevasse of sorts

A more creepy thought a la a serial killer novel was that an evil someone had moved the blue poles to lead me farther and farther away from all chance of rescue and discovery. I wondered how many years it would take for someone to discover my dismembered bones out here. Either I was developing heat-stroke or I read too many novels.
Well, for better or for worse, there will be no documentaries written about my tragic loss in the wilds of Idaho. I made it back safely with no worse injury than a burr or two in my socks. As I returned to my car, I discovered the log I should have signed to document that I had taken this path. I also discovered that the most recent person to have signed the log did so a number of days previously. Good thing I didn’t break a leg!


Debo Blue said...

You're brave enough to hike solo?

I'm not even brave enough to walk in a mall's parking lot alone:-)

I'm glad you lived to tell the story and you're not the subject of America's Most Wanted!

meeyauw said...

Similar thoughts go through my head when out alone in the woods. Once, hiking with a cat (this cat is not Lassie), I fell in between two blow downs and was stuck. I have considered ever since what I would've done if I never got out, being without a Lassie cat, and being without kids who even consider that perhaps they should call once a week to see if I'm alive.

I made the same choice and still go out with that cat, us two alone, nobody knows when or where.

Kathe said...

Good thing you didn't break anything else either. :^)