Friday, January 3, 2014

156. Getting to Feel Like a Badass

In general I don't spend a lot of time being really brave and cool. That's not to say I'm a complete wimp, but in general day-to-day life, there's just not as much opportunity to put oneself in the line of danger. But being a long-distance hiker, there are all sorts of ways to get yourself into bizarre and perilous situations! And not even on purpose!

My hiking group was particularly notorious for more or less working our way through an entire First Aid handbook. We just wanted to make sure we covered all our bases. If we ever decide to be Wildernesss First Responders, we are going to be SO PREPARED.

It's been a while since I listed out all of the crazy, dangerous things that happened to me and my hiking group, so I figure this is as good a time as any to put it all in one place. So here it goes, in as close to chronological order as I can manage:

1. In the very first 15 minutes of the entire hike, headed to the top of Mt. Springer for the trailhead, Clever Girl slips on some ice, busts open her knee and smashes her head on a rock 
2. Surprise blizzard
3. Clever Girl getting late-stage hypothermia
4. Clever Girl getting frost bite in her right hand
5. Near starvation
6. Dumptruck falling and briefly dislocating his shoulder
7. Dumptruck losing so much weight that he worries he might have to leave the trail for malnutrition
8. Trapped in the Smoky Mountains because the road to Gatlinburg closed
9. Locked out of out own hotel room (this one wasn't actually dangerous, but I wanna leave it in)
10. Trail covered in ice and slush causing Hot Dog and Apollo to get swollen terrible shin splints
11. Whistle falling on ice and seriously injuring her knee
12. Getting to the last shelter in the Smokies and finding it full, such that Dumptruck and Clever Girl are forced to tent outside during an ice rain storm
13. Meeting a neonazi!
14. Hotdog's feet becoming two giant oozing uncontrollable blisters
15. Getting caught in a freak hailstorm on top of a bald with 70 mph winds
16. Ice collecting so heavily on all the trees that the trees split, crack, fall, crash and explode into a thousand pieces of wooden shrapnel and ice all around us as we sprint through the forest with our sleeping pads wrapped around our heads as helmets
17. Whistle getting hit with the Noro Virus before we knew the Noro Virus was a thing such that she is up vomiting mysteriously neon orange puke into a ziploc bag all night long while Hot Dog and I sit up with her at a loss of what to do
18. Hotdog and I both getting struck directly on the head with large chunks of falling ice
19. Dumptruck ACTUALLY dislocating his shoulder and not getting to the hospital for 7 hours
20. Hotdog getting a bizarre pus-filled rash all over her entire body that landed her in the hospital for 3 days on a continuous IV drip of benadryl and antibiotics
21. The Hunger falling twice on the same ankle and being unable to hike for a week and saying these words exactly: "GO ON WITHOUT ME" 
22. Clever Girl getting Noro Virus
23. Clever Girl getting Noro Virus AGAIN
24. Dumptruck getting Noro Virus
25. Clever Girl getting dehydration and heat stroke so badly that she has full-blown seizures for 30 minutes
26. Clever Girl getting bit by black flies and having no EpiPen and having to eat a continuous diet of benadryl
27. Clever Girl almost stepping on a Copperhead Snake
28. Grim getting Lyme Disease, surviving 30 days of continuous antibiotics while hiking in 100+ degree heat
29. Clever Girl getting stress fractures in her left foot
30. Clever Girl falling backward off a small cliff and being CAUGHT by Dumptruck who was directly below her
31. Grim accidentally kicking a rattlesnake sunning itself on the trail
32. Clever Girl twisting her knee and breaking a small bone her left hand
33. Dumptruck and Clever Girl hiking through a thunder storm where lightning was visibly striking the ground less than 200 feet away, several times.

Granted, the only times that I was actually close to death were temperature related (hypothermia and the heat stroke), but all of those other things were pretty gnarly too. For context, let me give you a list of the injuries and things I sustained in 2012:

1. Getting a cold.
2. Getting a cool scar on my arm from playing an insane game of Paintball, in which I was shot from 3 feet away.

That's it.

So I'm trying to convince you that hiking is awesome, right? And I choose to give you a list of all of the nightmarish things that happened instead? Here's why:

Though we went through all of that, we still considered the whole hike to be super awesome. Imagine how much positivity had to go down in order to outweigh all of THAT?

Also, being able to be a badass for a few months is pretty cool.

Clever Girl


  1. You left out one badass injury from 2012 (was it 2012?), a black eye from getting punched in the mosh pit of a metal show!!!

    1. YES. I did forget about that. I guess that is pretty badass :D

  2. Love the "falling off a cliff and getting caught by Dumptruck". Meaningful on so many levels! Love, Mom and Dad