DAy 55 - forest road to abAndoned cAbin
May 21 | SOBO Miles 1192 - 1197
The previous night’s winter storm put a hurt on us. We were all awake by 7, chatting between our tents as the rain came down and basically just astounded we were still alive. By 8:30 it showed no signs of stopping. By 9 we were forcing ourselves outside–if we were going to die it was not gonna be here.
The weather punished our efforts, sending us postholing through miles of slushy, loose, deep uphill snow as the freezing rain pierced any and all exposed skin. Within an hour I had completely lost feeling in my fingers and toes. My dramatic mind spiraled as thoughts of hypothermia danced around my frozen brain. Adding insult to injury, I was nauseous and dizzy and wasn’t sure whether I felt like throwing up or passing out.
As we gained in elevation, the rain turned to snow. We took a forest road instead of the PCT–being relatively wider and less forested, its path was much easier to follow. It took us to the summit of Grizzly Peak, where we desperately went knocking on the weather reporting hut thinking it could serve as an emergency shelter. No dice.
We were at least having fun with it, but we knew we needed to find an immediate solution or bail to the highway. With all our belongings soaking wet, we were losing valuable body heat. The blizzard made the situation all the more ridiculous. We were the only ones out here... for good reason.
It was when we’d fully accepted the meaning of bailing that we came across an open meadow with another weather station smack dab in the middle. We tried the door to no avail. But then, in the distance, we spotted a tiny cabin. Could it be? Our salvation?
We tripped through the snow as we rushed over, entering the shelter to find its floor covered in pools of water. It would do, but it was dark, damp, and windowless. Only then did we spot a second, larger cabin behind the trees to its right.
This one was fancy (by PCT standards). Raised off the ground, it boasted a porch, windows, solid roof, and even a basement with some dry wood stored underneath. We pried open the door–which seemed like it hadn’t been opened in 20 years–and busted in, finding the interior in a similarly untouched state. The floor was covered in mouse droppings and pine needles and the place reeked of mold. A defunct retro fridge stood wide open next to a row of cabinets missing their doors and a stove and furnace that looked straight out of Little House on the Prairie. The bedroom housed four empty bunk beds and a giant tin can full of water and rusty nails. The adjacent bathroom was falling off the side of the house, the plumbing broken and about to fall into the snow. And yet, the carpentry was gorgeous–the paneled ceiling looked as impeccable as the day it was constructed, even if every other surface seemed to be composed of rotting wood and cobwebs.
We had found our perfect home for the night.
A cheap Airbnb for our dream nearo day.
We got to work sweeping the floors and hanging our soggy gear out to dry on the rafters before retreating to our sleeping bags to get warm. By noon we were staring at the ceiling settling down for a catnap, plastic baggies covering our feet to retain heat and keep the floor from giving us tetanus. We wondered how we had gotten here but nevertheless felt blessed by our good fortune.
We frittered the day away rearranging our gear (it never really dried) and eating (all of us realized we would probably run out of food by the time we got to town) as the unrelenting rain continued to come down. By 5 we were ready for bed again, still freezing cold but at least sheltered from the elements.
Before falling asleep in our dank and potentially asbestos-ridden home, we watched a documentary on the Men’s Rights Movement and had some lively debate.
And when all was said and done, we made it through another day on trail without dying. Good stuff. God bless.