Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bugaboos- The Death March to Applebee

Our first view of the Bugs.
Some experiences leave you scarred for life.  Whether the damage is physical, emotional, or psychological you are left with a permanent, inescapable reminder of an event you would rather forget.
Ben posing with Critter Ridder.  Black pepper and Capsaicin spray.
Ben spraying the car with Critter Ridder.
Apparently critters don't like to eat FJ Cruisers.
Deceptively cute, cable eating devil.

The hike up to Applebee Campground is one of those moment.  Granted I have never enjoyed hiking, but this hike completely crushed me physically and psychologically.

The trail is only 4 kilometers, and the grade, although steep, isn't outrageous.  The tipping point was our packs.  With 10 days of food, clothes, climbing gear, ropes, and various stuff to survive in the wilderness our packs were almost 100 pounds!

Once I had the beast on my back the shoulder straps started digging into my chest.  So I pulled out some underwear, and shoved them behind the straps to provide extra padding.  Only 10 minutes into the hike and my dignity was already disappearing!

Self portrait of suffering.
Isn't this great!!!  Such a nice hike.

Then we got above treeline.  With no shade, and limited opportunity to pump water, I got dehydrated and quickly fell apart.  My back screamed under the weight of my pack and my legs could only take about 20 steps before they begged for a rest.  Just past the ladder, about 2/3 up the trail my mind and body cracked.  I felt helpless and desperate.

Totally cracked.  Note the underwear.
Is there a pack on me?  I can't tell.

It got so bad that Ben came down the trail looking for me and offered to hiked my pack about 400 feet up the hill while I pumped water.  He also took the rope and draws out of my pack and put them in a smaller pack which he shuttled up the hill along with his huge pack in alternating trips.

Looking down the valley.
 Feeling a bit better, I finally made it to the Cain Hut. 

The kitchen has running water, electricity, and gas stoves.
Unfortunately, we still had about 900 feet of vertical gain to make before we reach the Applebee Campground.  So I slowly made my way up the hill- resting about every 50 feet.

Almost to Applebee!  You can see the Cain Hut in the upper left hand corner.
After about 5 hours of hiking I finally stumbled into camp with a devastating headache.  I was disappointed with my performance and stressed about the rest of the trip.  It felt like a horrible glimpse into the suffering that awaited. 

Luckily my legs have recovered, but my mind will never forget the death march to Applebee Campgound.

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