Trip Details:Time: 63 Hours and 15 Minutes (Tuesday Morning from 9:15 P.M. to Thursday 11:30ish P.M.)
Distance: About 130 Miles (Home to Columbia Peak Ridge)
Elevation Gain: About 4500 Feet (From 500ft. -5,000ft.)
Gear I brought: Tent/Tent Cover, Ice Axe, Crampons, Duct Tape, Wool Socks (My only pair I brought which I wore the whole time), long underwear, the obvious... clothes I wore to start which were shorts (which have leg pieces that attach to make snow pants) and a t-shirt and boots (which had holes in them), food, two maps of Columbia Peak (One of the Peak, and another of Poodle Dog Map which they both have parts of each map on each), packback, long sleeve shirt, jacket, face mask, gloves, knife, toilet paper, some plastic bags, and 6 or so water bottles.
"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds, awake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it reality." -T.E. Lawrence
This was my most interesting adventure in my opinion, and unusual. It was a trip of long endurance, time after time I was exausted and had to continue. I been wanting a trip like this for atleast two years now, and never really acually did it, perhaps I never felt the courage or perhaps now I was more experienced with bikes and mountains than ever. The week before school was out I wanted to, but I resisted temptation, and decided well I might as well let school be out before I try something like this. On Sunday Night, June 21 I had my brother Michael help fix my bike brakes. A few months before this me and my friend Sean went on a bike ride to Snohomish which then I switched a gear too fast and some how bent one of my main gears, also Sean dared me to bail my bike into a lake and I ended up messing up and messing up the tightness of my brakes, and had a few scatches from that. The brakes were only sorta fixed, my front ones still did'nt work, and the back ones were ok, but for steep hills needed my feet to stop. My boots have holes in them, just the slightest wetness on the ground gets my feet wet, so it wasn't exactly the greatest decission to go with my boots, but I wanted to go with as little as "other people's gear" as possible. I wanted to go because I wanted a new experience, I have'nt been able to hike since Camp Muir, and it's been months since I went out hiking, and I been wanting one so badly. I need excitment in my life, or else I start to well not be as happy. Also my mother has been out a lot, and has'nt well been around as much, when I spend the night at friends I've had it be days before I would speak to my family again, so I figured I would be fine when it comes to my family. I did'nt leave Monday because I did'nt have everything together, Sunday night was the last my brother saw me until I got home. Friday night I nervously get a map of Columbia Peak, hoping not to get suspiciousness towards me. My mom was gone, Michael was away, and I decided now was the time to act. What acually fueled my idea of the trip is the quote "The littlist of actions is better than the greatest of intensions" which if I just intended on this, and never acually did it, then I've never experienced it. And if your wondering, yes reading the book Into the Wild did have a little influence on the trip.
"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situationbecause they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.
The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and diffrent sun." -Christopher Johnson McCandless
I felt a bit unsatisfied with my current situation, and felt the need for an adventure, a challenge. The reason I have'nt been able to get out is because of money problems, my mom has had bills and we did'nt recieve our monthly check, so dept has been building up, which makes the situation at home worse. Gimpilator and me were going to go for a hike Tuesday, my mom said yes, but all changed when my momther mentioned that her car brakes were bad. It's not like they are sorta bad, but it would be very risky for me and Gimpilator, so I was very disappointed, and also Mike (iron) was busy so Mount Adams looked like it was out of the plans. Although I heard about what happend to Mike and I feel very sorry for him, when it was me that more deserved it. I have most the food packed up by night and sleep. Tuesday morning I woke up around 8:00 P.M. and grabbed some peanut butter and jelly, bread and frosted shredded wheat, and the night before I grabbed three apples, two bananas and two packs of rits crackers.
Tim and Howard were at the living room table so I had to be very sneaky about getting my stuff, and I did'nt want to suck to much time out of my scehdule. After getting everything and after they left as I was leaving out the door the clock said 9:15 A.M. which was easy for me to remember. I went down the drive way in a hurry, but had to go back up to fetch the camera which well if you know me, you know I love photography. I asked my mother the night before I left if I went to Mount Adams if I could borrow her tent and she was fine with that, I choose her's because it was light weight. I choose Columbia Peak because someone recommend it to me, and I thought well it ought to be worth a try. When leaving the final time from home it felt like I was freeing myself from the world. The pack was a bit heavy, I would have used my big pack, but it would look to suspicious to other people. The first seven miles was acually not too hard, although when going down the Snohomish valley down the hill of Highway 9 I was a little worried, because my brakes were'nt quite good, if I had them attached, they would slightly constantly brake, so I took them off, I used my feet as the brake. The tire started to wobble, and I prayed that the bike would'nt fall apart on me, and my luck was in. When I stopped I had to tighten the tires which fixed the problem, and had me less worried. I had to get off highway 9 because of construction and follow a country road. Later I got back onto highway 9, and crossed the only accessable bridge over the Snohomish river, which it's a bit worry some with all the cars going by and how close they are, especially semi trucks.
After this, then I biked up past Highway 2 and yet more construction came, and I had to go off the road, into a swamp like area under a bridge and up a narrow gravel spot to get back on the road and take a detour. By this point I was getting quite tired, and I thought "is this worth it?" but logic did'nt seem to get enough to me, and I decided well it would be a disappointment to turn around now. By this point I got into Lake stevens and going to Taco Bell was nice and refreshing. After this I continued and before getting to the highway 92 exit there was a up hill which I started getting something similar to a side ache and I prayed for it to go away, and fortunatly it did. Going down highway 92 to Granite Falls was'nt too bad, although when most of the way there, there was a very bad accedent, several cop cars, ambulances and even a helicopter flew over, and this worried me. I had to take an alternative road called crooked mile road which had very little side walk so I had to walk my bike, and because this was now the only way cars could get to Granite Falls from the South, it was a crowed road. After this I went up another hill and ended up in Grantie Falls.
Much joy to me was felt, so far I had riden around 30 or so miles, and I had to stop and filled up water at a gas station. After this I rode on past Grantite Falls and to Verlot, although the big Hill was hard to get up, and sucked up much time and energy and by the time I got over it, it was getting late. The ranger station was closed, and I needed to find a camp to sleep at. A mile or two down the road a found a camp, great spot, not only was it free, but sandy and soft. Slept good that night, and got up the next morning and could'nt quite make up my mind.... I could go up Pilchuck, call it good, or I could go further. I had already been up Mount Pilchuck 6 times, so I decided it was time to do something new, and besides, I have a map of Columbia Peak. Before I left the camp, a lady pulled in and I asked if she had any extra water because I was running low, she gave me a bottle, and told me that on the way there were camp grounds that provided water, which thank goodness there were!
It felt so good to be free, I mean some might call me crazy, but you know when always being a captive of home, it feels sickening after a long time. Perhaps I'm untamable, some might say that's a bad thing, but I don't nessisarly agree. After that it was'nt too bad of a bike ride to Barlow Pass, a light rain, which was sorta warm and better than being sunny, because biking in hot weather is not good in my opinion due to heat. As I was nearing Barlow Pass I kept wondering when I would acually get there, I kept getting closer and closer, but it would never seem to end, even after passing Sunrise Mine Road. At first I was thinking of turning to Vesper, but been there, and also Morning Star, but I hear from Gimpilator that at this time of year it was dangerous. Finally I get there, although I had to walk my bike a bit, I am very pleased, and was'nt sure before if I was even capible of accomplishing this. I started to realize that sometimes limits are a mental thing, something that people just put upon them selfs, but it was later that day that I realized, I most certainly have limits which are there, but the point is that if you endure, have faith, and keep pushing, you can really accomlish your goals, I still believe that even now, but sometimes though it can get a bit out of control, this trip is an example of that.
The Monte Cristo Road was acually in pretty good condition compared to when I was there a year ealier with the trip with my cat, although there were some spots I had to walk my bike. I had to choose again which one.... Del Campo or Columbia...... and I hear that there's some danger near the top of Del Campo, plus I been to the lake, so I decided on Columbia Peak. When I got near the river, there were lots of hikers behind me, it was like a parade of people, and when trying to get to the crossing log to go across the river, I felt like I was apart of a train. I had to go across twice because I had my gear, and my bike, which was a bit neverousome crossing the river with, although not that bad. From here I continued biking, and walking depending on if the road was chunky, or steep. At a clearing I got a great view of Del Campo Peak, which was gorgous, I almost regretted going to Columbia, but then again when I looked ahead, it too looked so cool. Once I got into town I found a place to stash my bike and continue on into the mountains.
I wrote my name in the trail register and as a comment I wrote "I went to the mountains because I was BORED!"
The weather looked like it was slowly turning, the peaks started to have a darker look to them, and it gave me some worry, but I was encouraged when come one told me that the weather was supposed to be better the next day, unfortunatly he was wrong. Going up to Poodle Dog Pass was enjoyable, exept those annoying misquitoes, which were all over the mountain loop highway. As I was walking I cam across a creek which worried me a bit, as I went though it, my feet got soaked due to holes in boots, which was the turning point in the adventure. As I went further up I had to pull out my ice axe, not that it was needed but nice to have on a steep slope off to the side. Once reaching Poodle Dog Pass I looked over at the Monte Cristo Peak and they had a very dark formidable look to them, one of them especially comes to mind reminds me of the Trango Towers in the Himilayas. I decided perhaps Twin Lakes or Columbia Ridge would be a good place to camp, so I climbed up the steep snow slope, and either God was helping guide me, or I have gotten good at navigation because as I was going up in the snow I would end up on the trail again, and this would keep happending, unintentionally.... well atleast that was'nt my main purpose. It began to rain lightly, and I acted quick to find a camp, I headed up the ridge more and more, and found a flat region and called it good, because not only was it getting dark, but the rain was getting worse and worse.
The tent I had was easy to set up, so I put it together, and put all my gear inside, and put on all my clothes. One moment I was in shorts and a t-shirt, and the next in double pants, jacket, face mask, sleeping bag, and in a tent shivering, when I was not layered up, I was'nt cold. That night was cold, and wory some for me, to me it changed the way I think of mountains. Before I went to bed, I reached to put my socks back on, and I had very bad cramps, and I was laying there in pain, and it felt like the size of my leg was changing, fortunatly I prayed fast and it did'nt not get to the point of crying, but still much worry. It kept twitching and it was hard to get my other sock on, I'm not sure how I did it, after that, I drank and went to sleep having the sleeping bag as tight over my entire body as much as I could like a mummy. I kept waking up shivering, wanting somehow someone else to be there, at first I did'nt believe that I would feel alone, but I think I acually did that night. I hardly dream when I sleep, but that night I did, I kept dreaming that someone was rescueing me, and when I woke it scared me, because I coulld hardly feel my feet because it was so cold, and it was windy, and raining. The snow below me was slowly melting letting off cold air constantly, and I did'nt bring a tarp, nor a pad. I realized that night that not only do I have limits, but also why people turn around even if the danger is low, that it's just not worth the risk, spending the night up in the mountains should really pretty much be done only if your not just sorta prepaired, but pretty goodly prepaired. (I used the word goodly on purpose.) I was worried what perhaps what my family was thinking, wether they thought I was at a friends house, or if I was in danger, I prayed and shivered a lot and hoped for morning to come. Morning was hardly diffrent, just brighter.... it was still very cold, it was still raining, windy, misty, and semi bad visibility, although I could see about 1000 ft. which was'nt that bad. My feet were so cold that I decided to use duct tape on them, and one of my boots. After packing up the tent and such I headed out, and one way I could figure out were my old prints were was the ice axe holes I left the day before. I decided again summiting, not because I could'nt, which I strongly believe I could, but it felt like the right thing to do, the weather was bad, I was super cold, tired, low on food and water, and time was another factor, if I wanted to get home before anyone would worry. I looked across and Silver Tip Peak looked dueable (not that I acually planned on doing it) but there was a frozen creek across from it, which would make it way to dangerous. But after decending down to Poodle Dog Pass, I felt much better, and started to feel a bit more joy. I started singing and going down with excitment, although I did not summit, I got what I wanted. An adventure. There's a big diffrence between a goal and a purpose..... although I did not fufill the goal, I did indeed fufill the purpose, which also was to gain an understanding of challenge, adventure, endurance, faith, myself, mountains, and good judgement.
I was wet going down, but it was nice and I had a snack at Monte Cristo. Pretty much the only guy who knew of this trip was a stranger, I told him that I was biking home which was 60 miles.... and he seemed pretty nice. As I kept heading down the road, the misty mountains were so beautiful, I could see layers of mist and see foggy forest and it felt amazing to be out in the mountains. Going to Barlow Pass was not very eventful, but going down Barlow Pass was fun! Going up seemed like forever, but going down was a breeze, although I worried at times because water kept spashing into my eyes and had me have to look down. I made way more distance easily than I had the other days, this was day three, which I made half of the distance of pretty much the entire trip. I filled up my water with good water rather than melted snow with little particles in it, and headed for Granite Falls. Once again I had another big hill that I had to go up. I prayed that the way home would be easy, or atleast doable, because it was either I sleep at home or Verlot due to not really any camping spots the rest of the way, I decided the sooner the better. The way down the big hill after Verlot was worry some, it was big, so I constantly braked, it was wet which did'nt help, and I used my feet as well which even both feet and max brakes I could'nt stop, but it did help slow me down. I was worried about a couple horrible senario's.... if I had my legs down to much, I would worry about flipping which could be fatal, also worried about turning too much which could cause crashing or flipping side ways which could also be fatal or very serious, so I tried to hold the steering wheel as strait as I could, and held on tight, until it got flatter. A little while later the nice guy from Monte Cristo drove by and stopped and offered me a ride, which was mighty desent of him, but I declined his offer, because I thought of the quote in the book into the wild when Chris was offered a flight ticket to Alaska, but he said that would be cheating, so I sorta went with the idea, plus just to stay safe, they say your not suppose to get rides from strangers, although I trusted him. After this I came into Granite Falls, had a McChicken and hurried for Lake Stevens. When almost to Lake Steven's I took a turn off the main road because I was tired of going up big hills, but this was'nt exactly what one would call a short cut.
I had to travell though naborhoods and almost got lost doing so, but happend to go the right way, but ended up having to go up a huge hill anyways. By the time I got to Taco Bell I was very very hungry and even though my cheesy bean and rice burrito was hot, it was soooo good, and the cinnomon twist were good too. By this point I was very cold and weak but had to endure. I biked the detour again, and went under or next to the bridge wamp and up a hill and down past highway 2 and went toward Snohomish. I became extremly tired, I would sorta go towards the road, and be caught in a day dream until a car would come near and I would go further into my thin bike lane..... or side of the road..... and from there on dictated my mind that day dreaming is not ok (I have the ability to dictate my emotions and thoughts, although it's harder when I'm tired). I got past the Snohomish River Bridge and by this time it was past sunset, although I could see much pink at the horizon, but it soon turned to evening, and I travelled again on the country road to avoid construction.
After going up the hill I became more and more crazily tired, the pack was wearing down on me more and more, until I was worried because my heart started to feel wierd as well as my breathing. It was dark by the time I got off highway 9, just in time to get to a road with street lights, I did'nt bring a flash light. I had another hill to go up, but this one was hard for me, very hard. I can make lots of distance going flat or down, but I have to walk up hills, because of how tired i was and my pack. It got to the point were I was worried if I had to find some bush to spend the night behind, but I still kept going. I was upset at myself and wondering "WHY, WHY DID I NOT EXCEPT THE CAR RIDE FROM THAT ONE GUY" Eventually I layed down to rest, and fell asleep for what I believe was 3 seconds when I heard some crazy teenagers driving by fast yell "Wake Up" which I did, and as I was crawling towards my bike, a lady comes parking into a parking spot near by me. She asked if I was alright and I said hopefully, and she offered me a ride, this time I accept, she seemed like a nice lady. Not to sound against genders, but if it were a guy I probably would'nt have excepted because usually there's more male creepers than females if you know what I mean. I was only about 7-8 miles from home, but I was abolutly exausted, she was very nice and talked with me a bit, and I said if you don't mind dropping me off near my home rather than at it so that I don't look like I accepted a ride from a stranger, which she was fine with. To be honest that was an exuse to perhaps not be caught, and somehow me get home without trouble. I was wrong. As I was walking my bike to the house, a cop car was there, I was nervious.... it could be for me, my brother, or I saw my Michael's friend though the window which it may have been for him.
I tried rubbing some of the dirt from my face which probably was'nt very effective, and as I walk in Kerry tells me I have to go to my brother's room..... oh boy I thought. I went in quitely and said "Is everything going ok Officer" and he said there's the guy we been looking for. What was interesting to me was I think they been recently been called, and I thought at this hour? Oh well, and I told everyone that I went to Monte Cristo and everyone gave me a look of shock. The officer handed me a tooth brush which I was excited and said it's mine, which I never knew I had a tooth brush..... turns out, it was'nt mine. I explained to Michael and Kyle and offered them some punishments, because in all honesty you can't really ever punish me, well unless you have me captive, which is what Michael was suggesting, which I thought to my self...... "Man I already regret coming home!" but that's sorta a joke. I was happy and smiling because I was so happy to come home. Although there may be some consiquences involved, the lessons learned were very important. I had to promise not to do anything like this again and that I was sorry. I did'nt realize my family would worry so much, I've had it were no one noticed me gone for days at friends, but my brothers were watching over me which made a diffrence. I'm thankful that they acually did care, I do feel sorry that I worried so many people. I figure I'm responsible for myself. It felt unfair that people can go out on weekends and that I'm almost always stuck at home, it sometimes drives me crazy, very very crazy, but people only know about how crazy those emotions are until I act. Fortunatly now I feel at peace. No need for me to stress, if I did, it would'nt do me any good... because i have already learned my lesson. But this was truely a fun and exciting adventure into the mountains.