Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Failure in the Swans

Wretched definition: (of a person) in a very unhappy of unfortunate state.
Scaled to first world standards, that pretty much sums it up. 
With generous help from family and friends, I started hiking up Squeezer creek at 8 pm on a random Monday evening, hoping to traverse from Swan peak to Morrell mountain the Swans.  I had a fun dusk patrol hike in to the lower lake, slept well, and was on the summit of Swan peak the following day before 9.  Unfortunately, something didn't settle in my stomach, and my condition deteriorated as I moved along new-to-me terrain to Lion pass and above the unnamed lakes near Owl peak.  By late morning, my body bottomed out, and I puked and lay down for a 3-hour nap.
Fun, fast travel coming off Swan peak.
Striking tarn in the headwaters of Lion creek.
Eventually, I got up and got moving again, but staying hydrated post-puking was challenging, and honestly, just staying upright on my feet was a chore as I slogged over Owl peak.  Overwhelmed by the daunting length of the outing given my deteriorated condition, I decided to bail by mid-afternoon.  The remaining daylight hours were spent slowly crossing the headwaters of the South fork of Lion creek, and descending to the road below Pony lake.  The following day, I felt much better and jogged out to the highway, hitched to Seeley, retrieved my bike, and returned home by mid afternoon with my tail tucked firmly between my legs.

Thoughts:  I am committed to getting out of the mountains safely every time, and made the right decision to bail.  The stomach distress was a one-off, and it was not realistic to complete such a daunting outing in my deteriorated state.  That being said, I am bitterly disapointed.  Having failed at several multi day outings over the years, and at a string of races in the past year, it is hard not to wonder if I have the mental toughness to execute long and challenging outings like this.  On a positive note, I am recovering very quickly, and am excited at how much healthier my body is overall this year compared to last year, especially my knee.  And, I think I have gear dialed and sufficient motivation to give it another go.

Stay tuned for a rematch! 

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