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[pct-l] RE: end of the trail

State park officials said one of Alsberge's first mistakes was going solo;
the other was to hike on unmarked paths.
  Probably going to be my fate. Better start saving up now to be able to pay
for the eventual rescue. Did they give him a senior discount? Is reasonable
rescue insurance even available.
  Yeah, I'm hooked on solo hiking off trail ( 25 years now) because there's
no other feeling like it. Instead of an adrenaline rush, just the opposite
happens. A sort of calm control prevails: Fear becomes a great enemy that
solicits panic. You are totally aware of this and overcome it by learning to
control and suppress not just fear, as rock climbers well know, but all other
emotions as well. There can be no room for self doubt once committed, a can
do attitude becomes essential. Confidence, tempered by past experience in
skills necessary for off trail, rules. Close calls in the past have become
lessons instead.
  And since one is alone, it becomes easy to get in sync with the hill side,
the mountain, the weather, the entirety of it all. I become an elk, looking
for the animal trails that show the easiest way, being quite methodical in my
route finding: I'm big, fat AND lazy so what's the EASIEST way to the next
valley. Once at timberline, the goats play tag team and generally (but
certainly not always) where they can go so can I. Their hair, snagged on
brush and rock, points the way. They are experts and I take their advice.
  And all the time you are aware of the precariousness of your situation, so
your sense of real danger is enhanced and scenarios for engineering your way
out of trouble are imagined. Risk evaluation becomes a skill, you feel
prepared for anything, both mentally and because of the stuff in your pack (I
must confess, though, that I still hate to see a fog roll in, because it
pushes the limit of panic control to the max)
    And on one level you are aware that all this is superfluous, that in
reality some sort of guardian angel is REALLY what makes it safe or have a
happy ending. But, hey, it gives you something to muse over while hiking
through the forest. And since you don't want to be dissing your G.A. you
don't become flippant and challenge her talents. Honest mistakes are okay
  So, like, I could not come back from the next one. That won't change what's
already been done and felt while in the woods
 Then again, there's that pesky, slippery, shower floor