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Begins: Apr 26, 2009
Date: Thu, Jun 4th, 2009
Start: Corral Trail
End: Lone Pine
Daily Distance: 15
Trip Distance: 240.0
Entry Visits: 5,535
Journal Visits: 161,510
Guestbook Views: 48,578
Guestbook Entrys: 194
Day 39- Lone Pine
I woke this morning (did I really get any sleep?) to clear skies but temps of 20 degrees. It was cold, but clear and I was happy. As the sun came over the mountain it started melting the snow off the trees and it was like a second snow fall with all the snow falling around me. I packed up and headed out (I tried to dry my stuff in the sun but that was futile). I put sandwich bags on my feet and made my way through the snow- at least a foot of snow had fallen. As I looked around I couldn't help but think that it was like Christmas out; it was beatiful and I felt so lucky to be experiencing it. I wondered what I'd find when I made it back to the trail. Would it be passable? Would I be able to find my way out? When I got to the trail, I was so happy to see one set of foot prints leading my wayout!!! You can't believe how incredibly happy, ecstatic I was. I hit the OK button on my SPOT- I was getting myself out of here.
As I walked I was feeling like I was the luckiest person in the world. I made it through the night. AND I got to experience the beautiful Sierras after a snow storm. Except for the tracks I was following, there was no indication of any other life on the mountain. I saw little chipmunk tracks, but really it was all virgin snow. And the sandwich bags worked great on my feet. My feet weren't cold as I made my way through the snow. I had planned to make it out to the road via Trail Pass, but then I started thinking: Why not just keep going, I could still try get to Sequoia National Park if I kept walking. But I mentally slapped myself: Are you crazy, get a grip girl: YOU HAVE SANDWICH BAGS ON YOUR FEET!!! I needed to get to the road so I could get to Lone Pine and make a call to my brother to let him know I was ok. I turned off my SPOT and hit ok. I hope the Search & Rescue people are aware that I'm ok. Plus I'm on the trail, if they fly overhead they'll clearly see me. I stopped to take my coat off because it was very warm in the sun as I hiked. I hit my OK button again. I was confident that my family would see that I was moving down the trail and realize I was ok. I hoped they didn't worry too much. But as I hiked on through the snow, I concentrated more on finding Trail Pass and the beauty of trail. I hit the OK button one last time as I sat at Trail Pass and ate a biscuit before heading down to the road.
It was amazing how the sun was melting all the snow really fast. And the trail was like a little stream, but with my handy-dandy sandwich bags- my feet were warm. I even started thinking that sandals were the way to go because any other shoe would be sopping wet right now and, at least, my sandals dry fast. But again, I slapped myself: YOU HAVE FREAKIN' SANDWICH BAGS ON YOUR FEET!! I made it to the campground at the bottom of Trail Pass (by Horseshoe Meadow), and it was pretty empty there. I met 3 guys who just got dropped off by the shuttle- doh! Missed the shuttle to Lone Pine by that much. I dried out my stuff and headed to Lone Pine. I walked 2.5 miles when I realized, walking the 22 miles to Lone Pine via this windy mountain road wasn't a good idea. That's when Barefoot drove by with his brothers and they gave me a ride to town. I think that was around 6 pm (I got to the trail head by 4:30). But I didn't get to Lone Pine until almost 7 pm because of some detours my driver took. So I checked into the Lone Pine hostel. I made a call to my brother. "Hey, JJ, It's Kat," I said rather blithely. I figured he was at home and gotten my SPOT messages. But I wanted to check in to make sure. Then he says, "Where are you?" I'm in Lone Pine. He says, "I'm 5 minutes away."
And that's when I found out what my poor, poor family had been through since I hit my HELP button at 3:30 pm the day before. Needless to say, I felt HORRIBLE for putting my family and the Inyo Sheriff's Department through so much grief. I was scared and I hit the 911 and I thought I canceled it by turning off the SPOT. Of course, there are so many mistakes I made. I look back and think how things could have been different. I don't care about spending the night on the mountain. I care that I put so many people through so much trouble. That what pains me about this whole ordeal. I feel like I learned a lot about myself up there. But It wasn't worth putting my family through all the trouble. I feel just horrible about it. I want to thank Corporal Waterbury, the pilot at the Inyo Sheriff's Dept, Cory at SPOT, Jeff Dishman, and Donna Saufly. My mom said one of the most comforting things she heard when she was wondering if I was dead on the mountain was when Donna said, "Don't let anyone push you around. Get the answers you need. But remember that most of these calls are false alarms." Words of wisdom. Thank you to everybody on the listserve who helped.
I'm sitting all comfortable, warm and clean at a hotel in Lone Pine and I just said goodnight to my brother (from Minnesota) and my dad (from Phoenix)....they came and found when I made the simple decision to hit the 911 button on my SPOT yesterday afternoon when I got caught in the Sierras in a Snow Storm. It's a long story that started with the decision to leave Kennedy Meadows with only my sandals and ended when the Sheriff (with my dad and brother behind him) came up to me on the streets of Lone Pine saying, "Are you Katalina? We've been looking for you." I can't sleep before I let everybody who helped my family in the last 30 hours know how grateful I am to them. I'm an idiot and my poor decisions put my family (and the Inyo Sheriff's department) through a lot of grief in the last 24 hours. My mom got a real taste of all the great trail magic I've experienced. Ironically, your help through this situation has made my mom feel more at ease having me on the trail and my family is in full support of me continuing the my trip to Canada (after I go to the gear store for a tent, water proof matches, and shoes). Thank you, for now. I will write more tomorrow about what happened over the last couple of days.
SoloGirl's Guide To The PCT
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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