It Was a Great Hike Then St. Mary’s Care Flight Was Called In
Like most guys I am prideful, I expected perfection out of myself but it's okay for others to make mistakes. It's something I am trying to work on but I have to share a story with you from last night when I made a few gigantic hiking mistakes and put myself in serious danger. I know that this was 100% avoidable but that's why I want to share this, so you don't make the same mistake I did.
In 2020 I have struggled at times dealing with the pandemic, to help with that I have really turned to working out and hiking in Western Colorado. I've hiked so many places including Mt. Garfield. But yesterday was going to be the last day in the 50s for a while so I wanted to push myself to hike Garfield one more time.
I stared out late due to work reports and emails but I grabbed a banana and headed for the trailhead anyway. I got started around 2:20 p.m. and after just 20 minutes in I was at the lip near the top I was doing well for my standards but I wanted to get to the top, so I found the trail to get me up there. Now, when I exercise I block everything and everyone out. It's me, my music, and working as hard as I can. So I didn't really pay attention as to how I was getting to the top just marching along.
This is where my three horrible mistakes were evident. I was hiking alone, trying to push myself to complete it before dark, on a trail I really wasn't familiar with.
So, at the top, I was walking around then decided it was time to get down, but I couldn't exactly find my way. I took one trail following horse tracks and it took me to a canal behind Mt. Garfield where people Mountain Bike and ride ATVs. At this point my cell phone was still working so I looked at my map and it told me to climb back to the top. So, I did this three times trying to find my way and just never found it.
By this point, I knew my cell phone battery was almost dead and my wife was not going to be able to get ahold of me when she was off at 5 p.m. after telling her I was coming down off the mountain around 3:30 p.m. She worries about my adventures all the time, and for good reason on this one.
I'm not a quitter, I wasn't going to just wait for someone to find me and save the day. So, after hiking up Mt. Garfield, climbing up the back three times, falling 4 times, bumps and bruises I decided to take the Mountain biking trail into Palisade. Right before my phone died it said it was around 8-9 miles, and I did it. It was a long, dark, cold hike out of there.
At this point, it was 7:00 p.m. I knew my wife was thinking the worst and I finally made it to the Cameo shooting complex where luckily there were two guys still working and let me use their cell phone to let everyone know I was okay.
I cannot thank the Mesa County Sheriff's Office enough for having 3 deputies searching for me, setting up Search and Rescue just in case, and contacting St. Mary's Care Flight to look for me. Even though I was just marching out of that canal by that time.
I know this will make me the butt of a few jokes, and that's okay, I just want everyone to learn from my stupidity and not put themselves in danger like I did last night.
I'm sore today, but at least I got a great leg workout yesterday.