Thursday, August 25, 2011

Walden Walkabout 2011

Warning: the following story is 100% true with no exaggeration. I am writing it for historical purposes...and so that I hopefully won't have to tell it fifty times. Also no Pity parties please.

For those of you that don't know what the walkabout is, It's a back packing trip Walden does every year for the first week of school. This year it was arranged a little differently than past. anyways, I signed up for the boys long hike. The trip began this Tuesday 8/23/2011 where we all met up at the school and then headed off for Salt Lake. Our hike began at Brighton ski resort and would end at Aspen Grove, following the Great Western Trail. So in other words we were hiking from Salt Lake to Provo, an estimated 25 miles. Our group leaders were: Josh Graham, the new teacher Skyler, and previous walden student Alex Washington. Our group consisted of twenty people. We hit the trail at about 10:30 a.m. and passed a big moose that was laying forty feet from the trail. We hiked up and over the mountain to the back side, went down it, and right up another mountain, down that, then up another. It was super strenuous and really hot too. At about that time, (around 4:00 p.m.) most of us had run out of water. But Josh said there was supposed to be a lake within the next mile. So after hiking roughly three miles we still hadn't found the lake and it was looking kind of grim. We made it to Pole Point, a junction of roads and trails, there the sign said 2.5 miles to Forest lake. By then, I'm pretty sure everyone was completely out of water. But we had no other option, so we pressed on. Up to that point, I had been feeling great all day. Not even tired. 

I made it to the turn off to head down by the lake, and ran into Karl there. He and I hiked down together and I started feeling really ill. So we stopped for a little while and then I started vomiting. The Problem was I really had nothing in me left to puke up. It was really terrible. Karl stayed by my side for a while, and said a prayer. After probably twenty minutes of being stopped, Karl grabbed my pack, threw it over his shoulder and headed down the trail to the lake. Not long after, I got up and began to continue down. On the way, I met another saint, one by the name of Ethan Dutcher. He was running up the trail carrying water for those that were still behind. He gave me a bottle and ran on past. Fortunately I was really close to the lake and didn't have to hike too far. When I got there, Josh Graham gave me some more water and started quizzing me on how I was doing. I sat down on a stump and sipped water. Problem was all the water that went down came right back up. I was dehydrated and also probably suffering from heat exhaustion. The thing about me when I get sick, Is I keep cracking jokes. In fact, my sense of humor probably even gets better, but who knows. So I sat around sipping water, laughing, and puking for an  hour or so. By then it had gotten dark and I had to try and hike to the other side of the lake where our camp was set up. Ethan Grabbed my pack and walked with me. Then Josh Cockrell came down, stole the pack from Ethan and told him to go keep working on dinner. 

At camp, Josh Graham got all my sleeping stuff set up. So I went and layed down. He, Skyler and Alex, were having a conversation about what to do, talking about me. It was really weird, cause it felt like they were talking about me as if I were dead. The plan was: Skyler would sleep near me and I was to holler if I started getting any worse. If so, they would have life flighted me out of there. I was completely exhausted, but not sleepy. So I just lay there trying to keep some liquid down with very little luck. Then Ethan and Jairen came over, they layed out their sleeping bags next to me and said "we'll help watch over him". It was a really touching moment. I would have cried...but I didn't have enough liquid in me to even shed a tear.  The two of them layed there and told me jokes while everyone else was partying around the camp fire. Then at roughly midnight, we heard a strange rustling in the bushes. All of us immediately thought Bear! Then the noise went away. Though an hour later it returned, and much closer. I sat up and a few people turned their flashlights on to discover it was a dear in the middle of our camp, eating through our trash. We tried to scare it away, but It wasn't ever frightened. Finally someone chased it off. then It returned a few minutes later and was eating Doritos. So they tried scaring it off again. It was great, That deer made me smile.

The night was pretty awful. I spent the whole time puking. (over the whole trip, I puked at least 40 times) I also started shaking really badly, but not because it was cold. Then I had the most awful cramps. I remember saying something to Ethan and Jairen like "If this is what being pregnant is like, I'm sure glad I'm a man". At most I slept a collective amount of 2 hours throughout the night. The only thing that sounded even remotely good was blue Gatorade and coke. But come morning I was feeling a little better. Then we had to decide what to do, cause it was pretty apparent there was no way I was hiking any further, also Karl threw up during the night and was feeling pretty awful. Josh Lebaron was in a similar situation as well. So Josh Graham took a cell phone and ran back up the trail a ways and contacted Diana. Who in turn called my parents to come rescue us seeing as they would probably have the most knowledge of the area. By then I had stopped puking, but I couldn't get up, so I just lay in my sleeping bag talking with all the gang that came over to check up on me. "What a way to start my senior year huh? Best first day of school ever!" I said. At about 12:30 we figured out that we would have to hike the 2.5 miles back to Pole Line to be picked up. So I got out of bed and started packing up what I could. Then I had to go over and take a pee. And what a glorious pee it was, cause it meant that I was obviously able to keep some liquids down. Ethan Grabbed my pack, strapped it onto his chest, with his pack on his back, and headed up the hill. Skyler, Jairen, Colman and I made our way up the treacherous hill at a super slow pace with tons of rests. I felt like I was going to die. and wanted to vomit the whole time but couldn't. Ethan ran down past us back to the lake with a filter and probably 15 water bottles to refill for everyone.

Back at the main trail, we paused there with everyone else for quite some time figuring out who else was going to go home and such. Finally we got on the trail again. Colman, Karl, Cael, Josh L, myself, and Alex were the leaving party. Alex took my pack with specific instructions to take great care of me. The whole way back I wanted to puke. Eventually I did. We were taking a break at one point when suddenly I heard a horn honk three times. I instantly recognized it to be our Suburban. That sure helped to lift my hopes. Prior to that I was on the verge of just taking a step to the left and tumbling down the mountain to my death....that sounded like a really great thing to do at the time. 

Finally we made it to the car.  I just walked over, hugged my mom, then tried to puke again. That was by far the hardest 2.5 miles I have ever hiked in my life. How I made it, I don't know. Let's just say there was a lot of divine intervention going on. My dad told us "one of the new girls in the other groups had a seizure and she was going to have to be rescued". My heart sank when I heard that news. I feel really bad for her. Obviously My experience pales in comparison to hers. I just hope and pray that she'll be okay. Then All of us jumped in the car and raced off towards Midway in order to get drinks. After I had some of that blue Gatorade and coke, I started to feel a bit better.

When I got home, I walked right through the door, to my room, turned on some Grateful Dead (it helps me when I'm sick) and fell asleep. woke up roughly two hours later, took a shower and discovered I had some pretty lovely sun burns. Then I had my father get me some pepperoni Pizza, cause it was the only thing that sounded edible to me. I had to slices of that, and went straight back to bed. Woke up at 9:00 a.m. this morning, wasn't hungry. talked to my siblings, then went back to bed. I had my mom get me a bean burrito for lunch since that sounded tasty. 

Now here I am sitting here typing this novel. Sun Burned, Tired, Bruised, Blistered, and too weak to even unscrew the lid of my coke bottle. But hey, I'm alive! I just want to say thank you to all of the great people In my group. Without you guys, I believe that there is a very high likelihood I would not still be here. In the end, I really wish I would have been able to finish the hike (I hate not finishing things). Though I don't regret what happened. It has truly been an amazing spiritual experience.

Man, I could use a lot of sleep and a great big hug right now.


  1. Wow!! Sounds crazy. I hope you'll feel good enough to go to school on monday!! And, as your advisor (which WILL be made official), you should sleep as much as you can. And I'm sure you'll get walden hugs on mondeee if you feel like going then.

  2. Man, your trip sounded just as bad as ours. (I was in the group where the girl had a seizure) But you know what's weird? I got pizza when I came home because that was the only thing that sounded good to me too!

  3. "Only 4 or 5 more miles" - Josh Ghamm (every mile we hiked.)