When the mountain gets you down…

… you either let it handle you, or you handle it… Perhaps a delicate balance of both.

I think I fall more into the former category, but allow me to tell you what happened.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m stubborn. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but it is an attribute I possess.

So, while I knew something was wrong, I still got back on trail out of Etna.

The climb from Etna Summit (SOBO) was brutal for me.  Then, add my foot, and I could only make it 6 miles that afternoon. My foot straight up hurt. I had trouble taking steps. I felt a new blister forming. All in all, I was cursing the mountain; it was handling me.

I got to camp just as a thunder and lightning began and I hunkered down as a hail storm passed through.

The next day, it took all morning to dry my stuff out. I figured it was that much more rest for my foot, so I welcomed the delay. The swelling has gone down, so when appropriate, I pressed on for about 15 miles.

I want to take a moment and say: NorCal is HARD!

I can only speak for SOBO… but the ups and downs; the burn section(s); the terrain. It all was beating me (& my foot) up, mentally and physically. Again, the mountains were winning.

Camp on night two was near a stream, so I soaked my foot and believed I was on the up-and-up.

Day 3, I felt like a rockstar! I believed I was finally handling the mountains!  I got an early start and was shooting for a 20 mile day.

The plan was to get to Hwy 3 and the campground there.

There I was, hiking along, about .6 from the campground.

The terrain had turned rocky, and I got a little cocky.

I took a step onto some rocks, my left foot gave out, and down I go….hard, too.

What caught me on the way down was my right hand. I felt a pop and I instantly cry out in pain.

I’m alone. My hiking friend was no where to be seen. Definitely no NOBOs coming towards me, and no other SOBOs coming behind me.

I knew something was seriously wrong. The shock of the fall, the throbbing of my wrist. I sat in the trail for about a half hour crying hard, more like sobbing. Cursing the damn mountain; cursing my damn cockiness. And so close to camp, too….


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