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Trip Reports

A sampling of various trip reports and journals posted on the TEAM42 blog.

JUL 25, 2008

Maah Daah Hey Part I

Jim 1:11 PM
63 miles in 5 days through the Badlands with the sun pounding 90 to 100 degrees each day. It was great but hard. The heat kept me from being able to hike through the day like I wanted especally after getting sick the third day, I almost threw up but didn't. I was suppose to do 90 miles in 8 days with a buddy but my buddy couldn't go and 5 days of hiding in the shade by myself was enough. I got through all the things I wanted to (China Wall, Devils Pass, the trail mid point, and crossing the Little Missouri River) and had my fill of the trail for one trip so when an opportunity presented itself and I was offered a I ride I took it. I will return to finish it though. I did make it to and past mile 42 so I'm good there. The Badlands is a hell of a place.

JAN 26, 2010

Ozarks '010

Dave 9:20 AM
Day Three

When I woke up, I had just enough time to eat breakfast before it started raining. I packed up my gear and hit the trail.

Shortly into the hike, the rain picked up and I put on my rain jacket and rain pants. I came to a couple of river crossings that made me miss the bridges of the Superior Hiking Trail. Fortunately there were enough rocks across each of the river crossings that I was able to make it without incident.

As the day went on, the rain started to pick up. The air temperature went down as the humidity rose. I opened up the pit zips on my jacket and took off the legs of my zip offs that I was wearing under my rain pants.

Six miles in and still before noon I came to my third river crossing. The spot on the river that the trail came to was not passable. I walked down the river a little ways and found a spot that look difficult, but doable.

I didn't capture it in the above picture, but there was a fallen tree just to the right of the image. The tree was about 2/3 of the way across.

I was able to get myself across the rocks to the tree. Once I arrived at the tree, I realized that the tree wouldn't be of any assistance. It was wet and slippery from the rain, so I couldn't walk across it, and I couldn't crawl across it with my pack on. I stood there on a rock and surveyed my options. I immediately ruled out just walking across the river. It was getting colder and the river current was very strong. I didn't need to get any wetter than I already was. I considered turning around, but I had already made it 2/3 of the way across the river.

I backtracked some and started on a new route across the river. I lifted my leg to move up to the next rock, when my other foot slipped. I slammed the pole in my left hand into the ground to catch my balance when SNAP it split in two. The pole went flying behind me...I started to fall back...and...CRACK...the back of my head landed on a rock.

I laid on the floor of the river bed with the rapids flowing over me. All of my body was submerged in the river other than my head and shoulders that were propped up by the rock that I had fallen on. I realized how lucky I was to be wearing a pack, as it absorbed much of the impact.

I worked my way back up and stood on the rock that I had slipped off of. I looked around and considered my options. There was more river for me to cross if I went back then if I kept going forward, but I knew I could make it back. I didn't know if I could make forward. Plus, this was a there-and-back trip, so if I did make it across, I would have to attempt this crossing again at some point.

I turned around and made it safely back to the place where I had started.

I was soaking wet, freezing cold, and had a pounding headache.

There was a place to camp right by the river. My first concern was getting dry and I had two options. I could start a fire or I could set up my bivy and get in my sleeping bag. The rain was coming down harder now, and I knew a fire would be no easy chore. Still, I thought it would be a safer route to go, because I was afraid that I might have a concussion from when I hit my head on the rock, and lying in my bivy would surely lead to falling asleep.

I did my best to gather up some tinder, but everything was so wet, I didn't know if I would have any luck. I tore out some paper from my journal and used that as well.

I was able to get the tinder lit, but wasn't able to get it going enough to lite my wet kindling. Between the rain, the headache, and now shivering, I knew this was a lost cause. Then I had an idea, I could use my stove fuel.

I looked at the canister and I realized I couldn't just dump fuel on my fire. Damn, so much for that. Then I thought I could use the stove as a torch. So I stuck my stove into the burning tinder and HOLY SHIT! The stove was engulfed in flames. My instinct was to drop the stove, but I knew I couldn't because nothing would stop the flames. I quickly reached into the flames with my other hand and turned it off.

I set the stove down and assessed again. I knew that the stove idea wouldn't work, but I did it anyway. Why?

I started running through the hypothermia symptoms in my head. I was suffering from shivering and now confusion. I reflected on the ideal conditions for hypothermia: being wet when the temps are in the 40s. It was a little too familiar. I needed to get in my sleeping bag and worry about staying awake once I was warm and dry.

I threw up my bivy and put my sleeping bag inside of it. Fortunately, both were stored in waterproof bags so they were dry. I grabbed some snacks out of my pack (I was getting hungry) and threw up a rope for the bear bag. Fortunately, my rope got up in the tree on the first try. I hoisted up my food and stuffed my wet pack under some rocks.

I got inside my bivy and took all of my clothes off. I was wet, but at least I wasn't getting wetter anymore. My hope was that I dried out before my down sleeping bag got too wet to keep me warm.

My watch had gotten water logged and no longer worked. I had no idea what time it was. I took a picture with my camera and looked at the display to find out the time. I remembered buying the camera last summer, after the Pow-Wow expedition with Chad, so I had to subtract an hour. It was three o'clock in the afternoon. Just over three hours since I first came upon the river crossing.

I still had a pounding headache, and while I was tired, I knew that I couldn't fall asleep until my headache was gone. I had brought along a lightweight radio so that I would be able to listen to the Vikings play in the NFC Championship game later in the trip. I turned the radio on and found the Arkansas-Kentucky college basketball game to listen to.

Kentucky was up by 30 at the half (I really wished there had been a better game for me to listen to to stay awake). After the game, I thought about getting up, but it was now dark, still raining and my clothes were no more dry than they were before. I played some games on my cell phone and wrote in my journal. I wanted to cal my wife, but I didn't have any service.

I tried to stay awake as long as I could, but eventually I fell asleep.

I awoke in the middle of the night taking long breaths. I could barely breathe. I opened up my bivy and gasped for fresh air. It was raining so hard and there was so much condensation inside my bivy that I was breathing in the same air that I had been breathing out all night.

I wasn't sure what time it was. It could have been eight at night or four in the morning. I had to pee, but wasn't going outside. Eventually I compromised and stood in the entry to my bivy and peed out the door.

I left the bivy door open so I would have fresh air to breath, but the wind kept blowing the rain into my face. Eventually I closed it again.

I once again woke up during the night and repeated the breathing, gasping, peeing routine. By now the inside of my bivy was as wet as it was outside. Maybe it was from the bivy leaking, maybe it was from all of the condensation it didn't matter. The exterior of my sleeping bag was wet, thankfully it was still dry on the inside.

Day 4

The next time I woke up the rain had stopped and it was just before dawn. After what I figured to be about 16 hours in my sleeping bag, I put on my wet clothes and emerged from my bivy to figure out what I was going to do next.