7.09.2007

Rainy hike epiphany

Rain moving towards me, July 7th, from Hough Peak.

I had something of an epiphany on Saturday afternoon. I was approaching the summit of Dix (4800 ft, sixth highest peak in the Adirondacks), I was on a very lonely herd path, it was raining, the wind was blowing hard, and the temperature was falling. The summit was wrapped in fog and my rain gear was keeping me 'damp' as opposed to 'dry' (I hiked in on Friday through a thundershower-produced downpour, the gear was still wet). And, I was alone, and while not panicked, I was fighting back severe anxiety. I knew that traversing the summit would be at the very least very uncomfortable and at the worst... possibly fatal -- images of potential bad outcomes kept coming to mind.

"Why do I keep doing this sort of thing, especially alone?" went through my mind as the clouds streamed by in the roaring wind. "I'm too old for this. One of these days, my number will come up. I should stay home and join the Rotary Club instead."

Anyway, I did successfully cross the summit of Dix in the rain, fog and wind. I didn't fall, become immobilized, catch hypothermia, and die. I made it back to the leanto, put on some warm clothes and had a large cup of tea with sugar. But I may reconsider my approach to things in the future because "Don't hike alone" is an aphorism that shows up in any responsible hiking guide. I'll have to see. Perhaps my days of solo bushwacks are over? I really had to gather myself and fight back fear before emerging from the thick woods to cross the bare rock of the summit of Dix.

I will post a few more images from this trip later, it was very wet, and was the first time I stayed in a leanto as opposed to my tent. It was quite an experience in damp communal living.

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