We planned everything down to the last detail. The cars would shuttle us to the trailhead, we'd hike for one day to the first lake and spend the night atop the mountain. Day two would take us farther down the mountain to lake two. Day three would be a short hike to the next trailhead where we'd meet the cars.
Everyone had maps. We had walkie-talkies to communicate with our pick-up. Everyone had their gear situated. The trip was going to be perfect.
Except it wasn't.
After the cars dropped us off, someone noticed the large "trail closed" sign at the trailhead. No one was able to reach our driver on the radio, so we were left with two options:
- Ignore the closure and proceed ahead
- Wait and pray another car came down the deserted service road that led to a closed trailhead
About a mile in to the hike, we realized why the trail was closed - it wasn't a trail at all, it was a fire-line cut straight up the hill. At times, the "trail" was level and easy. At times it was nearly 45 degrees and found us crawling to stay on our feet.
A mile or so from camp, two hikers sat down and refused to continue. They'd only packed 20-oz water bottles - one each - and ran out of water an hour in to the hike. With no streams anywhere near the trail, we quickly realized everyone was running low on water. Two hikers dropped their gear and ran to the lake to get more.
"Lake" was a bit of a misnomer for the mosquito-infested mud puddle we found at the top of the hill. The tiny inlet was little more than a wet patch of ground; we dug a shallow fill hole and ran what fluids we could through our pump regardless.
The hike out on day three ended up being twice as long as expected when we reached the trailhead and our driver was nowhere to be seen. Since it was a one-lane road that ended at the trail, we merely followed it for several more miles until we reached civilization and a payphone. Turns out he'd lost track of time watching TV.
We spent two months planning this trip down to the detail. Our plans failed utterly and, unfortunately, meant this was the last backpacking trip many of these campers ever went on.
I usually schedule my posts the night (or two or three) before they publish on this site. I plan things out in advance because I often don't know what the morning will hold for me and don't want to miss my 8am publication target.
Yesterday, though, my plan went up in smoke.
Like usual, I was writing my article in advance - ironically about being on-time - and set up the publication schedule as planned. By some twist, either the slip of a finger, a gremlin in the database, or merely a groggy mind at 6:30 in the morning, the post ended up scheduled for the wrong day.
While working on a client project yesterday afternoon, I logged in to this site to check a feature of the admin. I noticed my traffic was painfully low, and also noticed it looked like I had a post scheduled for the following morning - but had not scheduled one for that morning.
I slapped myself, reset the post's publication date, and apologized on Twitter.
Plans are often made with the best intentions in the world; even the best laid plans, though, can go awry.