Me, My Phone, and a Hard Place

I knew a climb was coming just ahead on yet another hot one in the desert. I still had a day to get to Warner Pass and the heat was intense. Today there was some luck, with big gusts of wind to make the  weather seem less oppressive.

I stopped next to a large rock to get my headphones out to prepare for the climb with some music. I placed my phone on the rock, on what I thought was a level place. The next thing I knew, my iPhone had slid into a crevasse-like hole. I looked down and saw it wedged in there between another rock, suspended in midair it seemed.

“My phone!” I incredulously said aloud. “That’s my phone in there!”

How the hell am I going to get my phone back from in there?!

How the hell am I going to get my phone back from in there?!

I got to work, shrugging off my backpack and trying to manipulate the phone with my trekking pole. In a moment’s time, one of my trail friends named Slytherin came along. How happy I was to see my happy-go-lucky friend from France! I knew he could help.

I showed Slytherin the dire situation and he dropped his pack to work with me. Another hiker showed up named Pantry and he also became intent on the mission of “Save Daya’s Phone.”

We deduced that we needed Slytherin’s poles because they were more narrow and thin than mine. With a headlamp pointing down into the abyss, Slytherin then shook his head and sighed a little French tsk tsk noise.

“You see, there is a little mouse holding up your phone. Depending on how he moves, well, that may determine what happens to your phone,” he delicately informed me.

A mouse? You mean I have to sweet talk a mouse? I had a flashback to when I was on the AT. There was that moment I turned my back from where my cherished rationed squares of chocolate rest on the log next to me. Then how I saw that damn mouse run off with my chocolate and how yours truly roared in anger. You don’t mess with a woman and her chocolate, especially after she’s just walked all day and that chocolate is her reward.

I looked into the rocks and saw that little mouse. Then I didn’t see him anymore and my phone was miraculously still wedged up right. The three of us got back to our mission.

I like to think I’m a pretty positive person, so I pulled every piece of positive thinking and affirmative thought from my being to keep believing my phone would be rescued.

It was getting closer to the top opening as we maneuvered the phone upward by using the poles. I was able to touch it on one end, but the slimness on one side of the hole didn’t allow it to come out.

Pantry then had the brilliant idea to use tent stakes. He rigged up one of his stakes that had a hook on it with some duct tape to Slytherin’s pole. What we would do out here as thru-hikers without duct tape?

It was the moment of truth. We had been conjuring up ideas and trying them it for almost half an hour. Pantry handed me the duct taped hook and I slid it down to create some leverage, to pull the phone up and out.

It worked! Suddenly the phone was in my hand and I was hugging and kissing the guys, promising them beers and goodies when we got to town. They were also exuberant about our successful triumph, modestly shaking off any of my offers.

Slytherin and Pantry pointing to the hole and showing off the tent stake-duct tape-pole!

During the whole rescue operation, I had felt bad that I was taking their time, valuable hiking time to get closer to where they were going for the day. Every time I mentioned this, they both smiled and disregarded my words. They wanted to help me. They wanted to be a team. They wanted to give and I needed to be open to receive.

This is the true reason many of us get out here to hike. For the amazing trail community of patient, kind, and selfless souls who come together to form a family for a season of hiking. When many people talk about one of the best experiences of trail life, they often warmly smile and speak of their trail family. Those people you meet that make you laugh over anything, the ones that pick you up when you’re down, and the way each person has his or her unique gift to contribute to the well-being of the whole.

Dutch, Daddy, B-Squared, and Potatoes in Lone Pine—I adore this crew!

Then there are the ones who help save your ass when you accidentally drop your phone between a rock and a hard place.

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