attempted a section of the Trail during a drought season, and his co-hiker
made him quit because he feared Wes was dehydrated. A high school acquaintance
was standing on the trail when the section gave way, and she tumbled
down a steep slope, landing head down in a tree overhanging a ravine.
The Ranger who rappelled down to rescue her asked her if she'd ever
talked to "the man upstairs," because he wasn't sure he could
free her. Yet, she was helped up the slope, and walked 4 miles out to
other interesting thing is that they WAY over packed. They took sterno
stoves, thinking they'd "cook," and Wes ended up tearing off
the covers of his journal, and the zip off bottoms of his hiking pants
to lessen their backpack loads, leaving them in the lean to shelters,
just as the pioneers left their fancy furniture and knick knacks at
the side of the Oregon Trail when the conostoga wagons were too heavy
for the animals to pull.
They ran into a man who was through hiking, and all the sleeping equipment
he had was a hammock which he zipped closed once he 'hung himself up'
for the night. Wes and his friend each had their own tents, and heard
all sorts of creatures outside the tents at night, and chilling noises
as well. Night on the trail is REALLY dark.
found that much of hiking the "trail" was not hiking at all,
but up hill and down rock climbing. Many of the sources of water were
dried up. When they finally hiked out and ended up at [a] cafe, the
people inside said "we could smell ya comin'!"
he has not attempted to "take the trail" again. Bad knees,
one of which was replaced a year ago.
I'm sure you've heard stories of people being attacked, and at least
one murdered in the lean to shelters at night. All the more reason I
admire the intrepid Grandma Gatewood.
November 6, 2014