|The new tire replacing one with a blown out sidewall|
After lunch and dispelling my doubts about continuing on, I drove the last fifteen miles on the spare, limping along at 50 mph on a four lane highway while others zoomed by at 60 to 70 mph. I arrived at the trail head a little before 1:30 PM, later than I had hoped, thanks to having to take the extra time to change the tire.
Soon after I started hiking I passed an older man and his golden retriever heading back toward the road. It turned out that they were the only beings larger than birds that I saw the rest of that afternoon. It seemed like I had the park and its trails to myself.
The breeze was chilling enough that soon after passing the man and his dog, I stopped to put on my Marmot PreCip jacket and a pile neck gaiter for extra warmth and protection from the wind. With the Marmot pile gloves and a wool cap I was already wearing, I was as warm and snug as a bug in a rug the rest of the afternoon. Keeping warm while hiking seemed less challenging than having to deal with the flat tire during the drive to the park.
The trails alternated between muddy and partially frozen with snow still covering some sections depending on their exposure to the sun. Three times I had to climb over or hike around downed trees that were blocking the trail. Enough water was running through one of the small streams that I was not able to cross it without walking through shallow water. Nevertheless, those trail hazards caused fewer complications than earlier misjudging the curb when turning into the parking lot at Subway.
A little over two and a half hours after I started my hike, I was back at the car, my leg muscles feeling a bit sore, but the rest of my body generally feeling renewed and refreshed by the cold air, brisk breeze, and winter scenery of the circuit hike. It also seemed that hiking had helped relieve the stress and strain I had been feeling in my back muscles. There was no longer any doubt that I made the right decision not to turn around and go home after the flat tire.
I imagine some of you have had your hiking or backpacking plans delayed or thwarted by any number of unexpected problems otherwise beyond your control. Or maybe, like me, you just misjudged the approach to the trailhead. Leave a comment and let me and others know what non-trail problems and hazards have impacted or interrupted your approach to the trekking trailhead.
This post originally appeared on The Trek.