We took Friday off work and hiked to the John Muir Cabin for an overnight trip. It was our fifth time up there and the first time it wasn't blowing rain or snow. We could actually see the mountains around us! Oh, and it was a muggy 55 degrees.
Mr. X and I reached the cabin by 2 pm, after Mr. X spent 30 minutes using his pruning shears to clear the trail. We unpacked, ate lunch and then Mr. X took a nap while I scouted for the route to Peterson Lake.
When I returned to the cabin Mr. X was just getting up (having been woken by some day hikers). He grabbed the GPS and since it was late in the day and we were both tired, the goal was to "head in the direction of the Peterson Lake Cabin for a while".
Instead of choosing the circuituous route I had found, Mr. X charged through the woods, down the steep hillside, dropping 500 feet in a matter of minutes. The GPS lead us to an unnamed lake and said we should be on the other side so we carefully crossed on a 30 foot long beaver dam (I thought the beavers might have something to say about it, Mr. X said it looked old).
Not long after that we decided it was time to turn around, and I suggested we look for the X-country ski trail since the trees would be tagged, and we wouldn't run into any lakes. Mr. X agreed - the trail was showing on the GPS afterall.
Soon we discovered that the GPS is not all that accurate (i.e. trails are shifted) and so we zig-zagged a little to try and find the tagged trail. Finally, I found a blaze on a tree and was stepping forward to try and find the next one, when the snow gave out beneath me. Usually when this happens it just means I'm knee or thigh deep in snow, this time however, I was waist deep in ice water and mud. I calmly observed my situation until I felt icy adrenaline hit my bloodstream, then I panicked. Mr. X ran over and I finally figured out that I should lay forward onto the snow, Mr. X grabbed my hands and helped slide me out. We emptyed my boots and washed the mud off my legs with snow. Mr. X said something about frostbite to which I scoffed - "it's 55. Hypothermia: yes, frostbite: no. Let's get moving."
Mr. X headed for the nearest ridgeline in order to quickly regain the 500 feet we had lost. We found some tracks headed in the same direction and Mr. X asked if I thought they were bear. Definitely.
Pulling ourselves up the mountainside, we found our original tracks and headed for the cabin. We put on dry clothes and hung our wet things over the oil stove. But there was no heat! Mr. X chopped some wet wood with a maul, and we had a small fire in the wood stove to warm up the cabin.
Overnight the weather worsened and in the morning we hiked out in cold, pouring rain and fog. We were glad we had taken time on Friday to go exploring.