|Icicles along Martin Creek.|
There is another list that automatically flashes through my mind when it is this cold- a list of memorable trips where people have gotten sick, hypothermic, or been exhausted. Trips that I’ve analyzed, and from which I’ve learned valuable lessons. I used to be horrified when things would go wrong on the trail, but I try to remember that only when I made mistakes or experience problems and learn from them, can I grow.
I greet one of the first-time hikers and she shares her dreams of hiking the AT. As we wait for the others to arrive, I tell how I got my start with Trail Dames, on a sunny crisp day like today, and how I’d gone on to hike part of the PCT this year.
|First time hiker using poles.|
|Taking a moment to listen to the quietness.|
|Lunch break under the hemlocks.|
|What a great group of Trail Dames! Photo by Diana.|
"...it was so great to be able to hike with you, MeToo, and Blue Yonder out of Kennedy Meadows. And kudos for hiking back to KM with MeToo and me. No one could have faulted you for continuing North, but I think it speaks volumes about the kind of person you are and it helped the "professional me" more than you know. Should "our patient's" condition have worsened, the additional person to go for help could have made all the difference."
OMG what a compliment, and also what a coincidence- he referenced one of those memorable times when someone got sick that I'd just been thinking about that very morning when I’d been preparing for our Trail Dames hike. It was when MeToo fainted and collapsed in the snow as on our second day out of Kennedy Meadows when we were heading into the High Sierra. That incident was why I'd packed my stove that morning!
|Back in May 2014, SlowBro (left) and Blue Yonder (right) care for MeToo on the PCT.|
Clearly there was a lesson there I needed to learn. What I learned was that I really take the Trail Dames motto to "never leave anyone behind” to heart. Even if everyone around me has tons of experience, I still feel the need to do everything I can to help. It was also a lesson in just how important it is to me to be part of a group of people in the backcountry who I can trust. Teamwork, counting on one another, being there for one another- those are all things I value being part of and strive to build.
Even though I've been off the PCT for a few months, these experiences from the PCT continue to inform how I do things like prepare for dayhikes with Trail Dames and they continue to teach me about who I am.