The nignt in the hostel was soon soured by the sheer number of people. It had gone from an intimate few to a overfull hostel in just a few hours. There was no space and no place of quiet. More than thirty people occupied two rooms that, at best seated a dozen. I went to bet irritated and woke up the same way, its not that I didn’t want to see them, I did, I just didn’t want to hike with a dozen people in the same mile of trail. There would be no way to find a hut willing to allow us work for stay or even work for food with that many thru hikers. I most certainly didn’t want to hike in crap weather let alone with a huge group I had been trying to avoid since Virginia.
I would not get my way that day, I knew the other two wanted to hike out in the rain. Eager to hit the trail I knew it would be an angry hiking day for me. We got to the trail head before the others and I managed to keep a decent enough pace to stay ahead of them. The long climb up to Mishka Hut had steps, hand over hand, sheer rock, everything possible. The Whites we proving to be nothing of what I was told, it won’t harder, it wasn’t rockier, it just took longer. Getting to the hut took a good amount of time with the straight up climb I was crushing out. When we arrived at the hut, Earthling had already gotten into the work for food and enjoying her bounty. Flailing and I joined her and ate what we could get down before feeling full. The two other hikers had nearly finished lunch themselves when we arrived, leaving us plenty to scavenge.
Just after lunch, I knew it wouldn’t last long, the other group came in one after another to the shelter. The rain and wind picking up had me wanting to stay. Yet Earthling and Flailing wanted to head out, they craved adventure for themselves. I couldn’t blame them but I still did not want to miss the views. Just like that they started to pack up thier gear, I couldn’t let them leave and do something dangerous without me. They asked if I was going to join them, standing up angry I looked at them and yelled. “Of course I’m coming with you, I can’t let you go off and do something stupid and get yourselves killed.” I was packed in seconds and out the door.
Flailing had taken off like a flash in the wind and rain, he was out of sight I can minutes and Earthling was just behind him. I was so angry, my body was on fire, the winds whipping at me, at 60 some odd miles an hour, were not felt against my skin. I kept my distance behind them at first, I didn’t want to hike with anyone, just wanting to delve into music and hike out my anger. I hated having to be forced into a decision I didn’t want to make. Either hike out with my friends in, 70 mile an hour winds, above treeline, in the rain, or be perpetually be in the bubble.
My quick pace caught my friends shortly, from there out I was ahead of them. I wore what I always wore, my shorts and t-shirt, with just my rain jacket to keep the rain from soaking my clothes. The temperature somewhere in the 40s before windchill, couldn’t be felt. I was accustomed to the high winds and rain, my time dogs leading had proven to a valuable asset on that day. The wind ripped the rain against my skin, stinging my face and blowing my ear buds out of my ears. Visibility in the best of times was no more than a hundred feet and made it very important to follow the cairns. I pushed hard up the open ridgeline well above tree line along the trail. Being so high on the mountains, nothing stopped the winds from coming and picking up speed.
I reached an open section of the rock face, standing there in the wind. The high winds pushing hard against me, I called out “Is that all you got? Come on!” The wind replied with its biggest gust, budging me a bit as I stood firm into the wind. I waited for the others there, for about twenty minutes in the wind and rain, looking steadily back for a sight of them. Once they came into view I was off again back along the ridge. Slowing in the puddles and rocks they soon caught me. From here we hiked a bit together before I gave them a good bit of distance to finish my hike alone. Pushing into the shelter I was surprised by what I saw.
Pushing the door open, I saw dozens of people, close to 30 day hikers and 6 or so thruhikers, huddled up in all thier warm clothes. Steam poured off my body as I took off my rain jacket. Everyone looked at me in my t-shirt and shorts while they were bundled up in thier sleeping bags. Greeting my friends, I dressed in dry clothes and asked about work for stay and settled in for the night. I was happy to see them, but irritated I had missed out on the miles and miles of views. We ate and huddled together for the night, still no working sleeping pad for me though.