With a fully loaded backpack (read foul weather gear) and three nights of nourishment, I set out with good intentions. The forecast was leaning towards sodden, damp and chilly. Great news for ducks, not so much for a cold weather weenie like me.
All was going well until I ascended my second 12,000 foot plus pass of the day. That's when BB bullet sized hale ambushed me. Just a bit of irony that the pass is named "Frigid Air."
It was a slip sliding descent for two miles until I found a home for the night. By then, a obscure sun came out long enough to dry some gear. Silver lining stuff!
I woke to the sounds of distant rumblings (not my stomach) and the pitter-patter of wet stuff striking my tent. Both were unwelcome guests. After a quick breakfast, I packed up. I was shivering by the time I stowed
At this point I had two options:
A) Continue in misery for one or two more days covering 15 miles and two more passes...
B) Retreat the 11 miles and two passes back to warm and dry Barley the Van.
I chose option B.
Before you think, "Jeff is getting soft. I wonder if he is making inquiries about assisted living arrangements in Florida."
Consider this: most backpackers grind out the 4 pass, 26 mile loop in 3-5 days. I did 4 passes and 22 miles in 2 days. I'm not ready for Carefree Village yet.
BTW: the last four miles were crazy wet. The trail became a quagmire with a brown creek running through its length. There were no trout sighted though.
See accompanying photo. Not a hike for those with mysophobia.
The Maroon Bells are awesome if hyperthermia doesn't get you!
Be safe out there,