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Allen Angst feb 7

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  • Allen Angst feb 7

    Sorry. March 7 was the date of this hike.
    I had been keeping an eye on the forum reports of Skylight Brook, as we had penciled in Allen for tuesday's hike. While rain was forecast for the day, it had been cool recently, favoring brook crossing conditions. We signed in at 7:30 to an empty lot ( and it would stay that way except for our car). The trail was well broken with large snowshoe sized post holes on either side but generally firm in the middle. Spikes proved to be fine and we ended up not using carried crampons and snow shoes . We made pretty good time( for us) signing in at the Allen register in 2 1/2 hours. I was a few minutes in front of my 2 companions and felt bolstered when I reached Skylight Brook. The ice was generally thick but there were some large gaps and flowing water visible ( and audible for a distance). The crossing was easy , using the rocks as much as possible . In fact, there was an earlier stream crossing a little before the yellow trail turned off towards Flowed Lands that was more worrisome. Meanwhile, back on the east side of Skylight Brook, I waited for my friends, eager to show them that the Brook was passable and to guide them on the route I had taken across the ice and rock. They were only minutes behind and would arrive momentarily,but I figured this was as good a place as any to take a break so I took off my back and grabbed a snack. After about 15 minutes they didn't come. They must have stopped to have a bite to eat or to don or remove layers. Still , I started to become less certain of their arrival, so I picked up my pack and recrossed the brook wondering where they were and whether they could've lost the trail or taken an alternate route. At the top of the hill , there was no sign of John and Mike. There was a large log in the middle of the trail which I had stepped over before following the trail down the hill to Skylight Brook. Facing the log looking east ( towards the peak) I saw some footsteps heading into the woods on the right ( south). I wondered if this was the route my friends had taken and started to follow the footprints. Soon , it was difficult to find any discrnable trail, so I quickly retreated back to the log . Did my friends find an alternate route down to Skylight Brook or were they lost? I would wait. It was my hope that they would realize that they were no longer on the trail and return back to this junction. I could wait for several hours before heading out and still be able to negotiate much of the way back in daylight . I knew where I was. I hoped they were OK .I knew it would not make sense to randomly search the woods for them . I also knew that they were resilient and resourceful and could take care of theselves. I would stay put on my log. Well , maybe I would look down the suspect path once more. I headed down the path. After about 50 feet or so the footprints seemed to stop. They didnt make their way down to Skylight Brook from here. But as I looked more carefully in the snow, I saw that the tracks hadnt stopped but were looping around through the brush . The tracks were fresh and I was ultimately able to follow them back to the main trail. It appeared that they had made a loop and circled back to the Allen trail. It was obvious to me that they had turned themselves around and were heading back down the herd path. Because we barely had much net ascent up until that part of the hike, it would be easy for them not to know if they were going up or down as the terrain was rolling. I had at least figured out their plight , and felt confident they were not lost, just heading in the wrong direction. With clear conscience, I could abandon my outpost ( log) and head back down the trail. I reached the Allen register only minutes after they had arrived.
    Certainly I was glad to see them, though we were all a bit frustrated that we would not be climbing this mountain today. They had thought that I had kept going without waiting for them and were trying to catch up with me, only realizing their misdirection when they untimately reached the register. Unfortunately, they were quite confident in their misdirection , so didnt consult map/compass/gps.
    A wet slog out. 15 miles without a peak to claim, but we were safe, together, and would not be mentioned in this weeks Ranger's report.

  • #2
    Separation anxiety plagued the group. Sorry you didn't get it!

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    • #3
      Scary how quickly things can go wrong...glad you doubled back and were able to link up again.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the report and reinforcement of the "group stay together" principle.

        Do you mean MARCH 7? On Feb. 7 there was deep snow.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the comments. We will try to keep together in the future - I did mean march 7. Dave

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          • #6
            Thanks for sharing your misadventure. Good learning here for everyone.

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            • #7
              Never turn back. You never know when you'll be back in the high peaks again.
              ADK 46*/46 CATS 5/35 FT 4/28 Saranac 0/6 Bristol 6/6

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              • #8
                "Better a live donkey than a dead lion.'
                Ernest Shackleton

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                • bfinan0
                  bfinan0 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Shackleton could have saved Robert Falcon Scott and his companions -- and perhaps himself a few years later on Endurance -- a lot of trouble if he hadn't taken that attitude - the English could have been first to the pole, and maybe Scott's last expedition wouldn't have been his last after all.
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