We got a ride from the post office to Deer Springs trailhead from a nice lady. And then we climbed.
And just for fun, we climbed some more, till we got this great campground, Strawberry Creek, where we set up for the night. We passed a few snow packs but nothing too bad. Did I mention it was a day of climbing? I think we went from 5300 to 8500 feet.
Next day we start off and there was more climbing, only now we got to the real snow. It was fun and the air brisk. It even snowed on us for a while. We donned our micro spikes and started crossing in the many dirty footprints that had gone before us. It was slow going, but kind of exciting.
We both slid a few times, easy catches, thankful not to turn ankles too badly.
Then all of a sudden, Steve’s legs shot out from under him and he slid down an embankment. Probably 30 feet. I froze. No clue what to do. He steered toward a big rock and stopped himself. Then he looked up at me with the hugest grin on his face. He looked exhilarated! He slipped off his pack and went about collecting water bottles that had flown off.
I think I may have been much more scared than him. He trudged back up, slipping and grinning till he got to the path.
We finally passed the worst of it and headed to a campground 2.8 miles ahead. On the way we ran into Michael, from England, who we hadn’t seen in a few days. It was great to see him so we happily chatted along the trail a bit. What a fun surprise to see someone you’re not expecting!
We came up to more snow and then realized we were actually only getting to Fuller Ridge 😳. We all thought we’d crossed it! Michael had on crampons and had an ice ax, so he chopped us some steps in a particularly steep stretch. I got most of the way down it, when Steve took his first step. He was sliding down instantly and hit me towards the bottom and took me down with him. Michael’s eyes were huge! Steve said something like “hey baby we’re going for a ride”. He was laughing and so was I. We stopped at the bottom without going over the edge!
We were all taking our sweet time after that! We were crossing another steep spot when instantly my footing was gone. I started sliding and trying to aim for a couple small trees about 20 feet down. There was nothing but them for a long ways! I grabbed the first scrubby tree and kicked my feet out to brake at the second one. I expected to hear my foot snap and then felt so relieved when it didn’t. I just remember Steve calling my name and I yelled out that I was okay. Then I heard Michael yell to stay and he would come down. I was shaking and a little teary and I had a backside full of snow! It took about ten minutes (or maybe hours) for him to chop steps in the snow for me to climb up. Chop a step, get behind me, brace us both and step up again. Steve grabbed me as soon as I was close enough and pulled me up! Holy smokes! Michael stayed close to us till we got to camp. We all three slipped and fell several more times. It was so sketchy.
We got to camp (an actual campground with a picnic table!) and I gave Michael the biggest hug. I also gave him his trail name, Rescuer! He liked it, because the last name he’d been given was Sir Pees-a-Lot! He called Steve “Toboggan” and that seems to fit too! He did a fair amount of sliding and gliding!
I can’t believe I don’t have a picture of Rescuer, but I’m sure we’ll see him down the trail and I can snap one!
The night ended with full body shivering 🥶 for hours with wet clothes and socks. We were both so frozen. It was definitely one of the hardest days and nights so far!
The next morning Steve asked me if I felt alive as I was sliding down that mountain side. He said, “It sure beats sitting at a desk!” I said, “Too soon, Steve, too soon!” 😂