Heading SOBO on the PCT, we hit the snow early in the Cascades, as opposed to where the NOBO's get it in the Sierra's. The weather has been fantastic for the most part, making snow travel manageable... even for someone like me with ZERO experience. That is, until the storm hit. It was an overcast morning with light rain to start out... we struggled to stay on trail up to Mica Lake in freezing cold, but managed to camp out before the downpour.
Thunder was a blasting and lightning was close. We were at the peak of the mountain, Ice Axes serving as the ideal electrical conductor. SHELTER IN PLACE as the hail banged us up through the branches. Julia and I camped in my tent for a good 6 hours telling stories and trying to keep our morales high before we made a run for it. Five miles later with no visibility, lost off trail, we were soaked to the bone, and my hands no longer functioned. I had to use my teeth and feet to set up tent again. It took me 40 minutes to undress and get into my dry clothes. I was shaking from the cold and the tears started to freeze on my cheek. All I wanted was my mom to tell me everything would be ok. We didn't leave our tents for the next 30 hours... only opening the fly enough for a bathroom break. The most difficult part was with the unknown. How long would this freaking storm last? Will my bag stay dry? What if I have to poop? Will I regain feeling in my fingertips? Do we have enough food to wait it out? Are we supposed to hike in these conditions? Why didn't we check the weather report before leaving Stehekin? AHHHHH!!!
Oh, there was no greater delight than the morning sun. Another lesson from the great Mother Nature: She is boss, She doesn't hold back, She will push you beyond anything you've ever imagined, but She is also kind and rewarding in the end. I am continually humbled by her. I'm thankful for that experience. It was one for the books.