I'm asking this question for a couple of reasons. First, swapping stories is fun, but more importantly, I think we can learn from each other through hearing how others dealt with experiences and maybe helping come up with better solutions where appropriate. I think this topic can also help remove some of the fear from those who would like to backpack but are uncertain of themselves by providing solutions to potential unexpected events.
OK, so I will go first:
Brian and I were backpacking in the North Fork region of Glacier National Park. We started at Bowman Lake and hiked the approx 40 miles around to Kintla Lake. For those who have never been there, once past Bowman Lake, the trail becomes very rugged with some very steep sections, lots of sheer drop-offs, and nothing but excellent views. The weather had been beautiful with the days being much warmer than we had expected. As we were heading into Boulder Pass, which is at about 7500 ft, the weather abruptly turned for the worse. The wind really picked up with gusts that were tunneling through the pass. We still had some sheer drops along the trail, and lots of uneven and rocky footing. As the wind gusted, which it did almost constantly, Brian, several times, dropped to his knees to keep from being knocked over the edge. I had my hiking poles and I turned into the wind, bent over and planted my poles as best as I could and braced. When the gust would pass, we'd both quickly start moving as fast as we could trying to get into the pass. Once we made it into the pass, the rain started. We took shelter in some rocks, got out our rain gear and moved as quickly as we could through the pass, still having to brace against the wind. Once we got to Boulder Pass wilderness camp we quickly set up the tent, strung up our food, and crawled into the tent. About the time we got into the tent, the rain started coming in sheets. High wind and pouring rain all night. ( I don't remember what we did about supper that night, but I know for breakfast the next morning we had trail mix in the tent, a big no no in bear country.)
We had checked the weather before we headed out and had expected cold and dry weather; what we got was warm and sunny with one very scary storm. As I read this, it doesn't sound so scary, but I remember being really scared once I was settled in for the night. I didn't have time to be scared in the thick of it.
Found Myself Outside