What the HELL was I thinking?
—entry from Happy Camp log, Chilkoot Trail
I WASN’T GOING TO let anyone rush me. I wasn’t going to let me rush me. I was going to take it one foot at a time, one boulder at a time. I was going slow, I was going careful, I was not going to slip or fall, there would be no Stabenow blood shed in the Chilkoot Pass that day.
That was my plan. I slithered across the snow field to the foot of the Scales and got chest to chest with a boulder taller than I was. Slowly, carefully, one fingernail at a time, I thought my way over it. One boulder behind me. A thousand to go. I stretched out a toe that was suddenly and inexplicably prehensile for the next.
What the hell was I thinking, saying I’d hike the Chilkoot Pass with my friends Rhonda Sleighter and Sharyn Wilson? I didn’t even know what the Sheep Camp ranger meant when she told us the pass was a class three rock scramble. Who was I, overweight, out of shape, someone who voluntarily quit camping when she was twelve, who was I to think I could hoist myself over a mountain pass which Henry De Windt had described in 1897 as, “difficult, even dangerous, to those not possessed of steady nerve?”
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