I stand there on the high narrow ledge made of shale and small loose rocks, my back tight against the side of the rocky mountain. I am stranded there until dawn because moving means falling and I am not ready to die.
The weather is vengeful and full of raw power. As lightening dances and streaks from the sky, the wind gusts and howls around me with no reprieve as it drives cold icy rain into my body like nails into a wooden coffin.
My white short sleeved t-shirt and jeans provide little protection against the elements. Somewhere along the way I lost my backpack which contained a sweatshirt,water, trailmix, matches. I'd also lost my survival knife I always carried.
Thinking back, if I had not succumbed to the lure of the clear pool of water in the small box canyon I might not be in this situation. The early afternoon had been scorching hot and the trail was such a hard hike that not many people tried. When I saw the clear pool of water and the narrow trail leading down to it I could not resist the invitation to cool off and rest. After swimming for a bit I climbed out of the pool and laid on a flat rock near its rim. I thought I would just rest a few minutes while the air dried my skin, then resume the hike. I still had plenty of time to make it off the mountain before sunset. But I fell asleep and didn't wake until the shadows fell across the area and I began to chill. In my rush to dress and climb out of the canyon I dropped my knife into the water while trying to get it back on my belt. Writing it off I slung the back pack across one shoulder and started climbing out. I wasn't using caution in my rush to get back up to the trail. I lost my footing and started to fall. My backpack tangled on some scrub and momentarily stopped my fall. Odd luck given that it was so hung up I had to extricate myself and go on without it. I had made it only part way down the mountain when full darkness arrived bringing with it the wicked storm. I tried to keep to the trail but landed myself right here on this little switchback ledge.
Ironic that I, who was always teased for being so cautious, chose to throw caution to the wind this one afternoon and look where it had gotten me!