I drove with gritted teeth up the narrow, washboard mountain road. I had already had to go back when I forgot sunscreen, but I was determined to hike. Now that I was on my way, what else could go wrong?
A lot, as it turned out. I knew the snow level was above 6000 feet, and the trailhead was less than that. So I was surprised to find some snow on the road. I didn't have my snow tires on yet, but maybe it was just an isolated patch. I continued on cautiously.
Soon the road surface turned to all snow, and quickly changed to ice. Feeling my wheels slipping, I decided it would be prudent to turn around. Even if I made it the mile and a half further, the descent would be slippery and steep, with an unforgiving drop-off on the downhill side.
Unfortunately, no turnaround presented itself, so I had to venture farther. Finding a miniscule pullout, I negotiated a 10 point turn and to my relief found myself pointed downhill. However, it was icier than it seemed and my truck started sliding sideways down the narrow road, heading for the cliff. Somewhat terrified, I inched my way downhill, talking out loud as the vehicle slipped and slid. As I was doing this, I noticed the miles to empty readout suddenly drop from 84 to 34.
What the? The closest gas station was a long way away. Oh well, one problem at a time, Sarge. I finally made it off the ice and breathed in relief. Trying not to watch the gas gauge, I suddenly encountered several vehicles coming uphill. I wasn't about to back up, so tried to look intimidating until they squeezed themselves against the side of the road.
I saw they were from Texas. Hmm. "It's pretty icy up there," I warned them. I watched them drive into the distance. Well, they would find out. Now I had to make it to the gas station.
Luckily, I made it. But as I was reaching into my pack for my wallet, the sharp end of a stray trekking pole jabbed me in the eyelid, luckily missing my eye itself but ripping off some of my eyelashes.
OK, I know when to call it. The universe was telling me not to hike that day. I decided to listen, especially since it was the 18th anniversary of a helicopter crash I survived. If you're going to listen to the universe, that's a good day to do it.
I gave up and went to the gym.