This was not originally intended as a blog post, but as a few final words I wrote during a recent hike up to the top of Sourdough Mountain in North Cascades National Park. Once I unexpectedly collected myself and was able to walk back down the trail, I thought I would share the sentiment anyhow. I would have liked to have added an epilogue about how, in the end, the summit was beautiful and worth the hike but I never actually made it so really don’t know. All I can do is share the link I used which lured me to the most steep and painful 9 miles I have ever walked from a trailhead in the aptly named town of El Diablo, which in Spanish means “The Devil.”
To Whom It May Concern,
As I sit here waiting for my heart to explode and end the pain in my legs, head and chest, I find myself feeling bad about my recent thoughts as I trudged 4.5 miles up (only up, always up) Sourdough Mountain Trail. I’m not sure who will find this note, but I simply wanted to ask for the universe’s forgiveness. So…
To the author of the trail guide who described this trail as “the most difficult” trail in a park of steep mountain hikes to a rewarding summit “for those able to make it”, I apologize for originally thinking you a “Drama Queen” as I sat by the hotel pool last night trying to select a hike for today.
To that author’s 9th grade English teach, I apologize for scorning your failure to teach the judicious use of superlatives like “unrelenting”, “strenuous”, “challenging” and “difficult” when I was reading your former student’s work. Turns out you did a good job with him.
To the creator of the trail itself, I apologize for calling you those things. I’m sure you were a fine person and probably did not actually take pleasure in seeing people in pain.
To the two young guys who sprinted off ahead of me while I was still trying to get my boots tied, I do not really hope you were eaten by a bear. I can’t be sure since I never really saw you again because you apparently never needed to rest, but I hope you are both okay. And I’m sure your mother is none of those terrible things I called her in my head.
And finally to my daughter who was with me and actually chose the trail. I’m no longer convinced you were trying to kill me, and I’m glad you didn’t have to hike down by yourself and explain to the rental car company what happened to the primary driver on the contract. In the end, the experience provided a lot of laughs. But I can’t think about that until it no longer hurts to laugh.
If you want to see for yourself: http://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/sourdough-mountain-trail.htm