Snickering The Wampus
I had just graduated from a college in the Pacific Northwest when I decided to road trip for a week by myself to de-stress. I'd barely gotten through the famous Senior blues, and I'd been told it was impossible to concentrate on one's studies the last few months. I can tell you this is true, because during this stretch it's just impossible to motivate. So, after somehow passing my last three finals, I threw a backpack and a tent in my '93 Subaru Wagon, a car that already racked up 289,000 miles, and I took off for Oregon.
During the first couple nights on my way to the Three Sisters Wilderness area, I slept in the back of the Subaru, as the wonderful cool mountain air cleared my head. I slept in Wal-Mart parking lots and pooped in the stores when nature called. I knew I was going to have to start looking for work soon, but I put that out of my head during my trip.
After arriving at a parking station at the base area of South Sister, and after having loaded the backpack up with Snickers bars, Vienna Sausages, and bottled water (tight budget), I headed uphill. The first couple of days I just wandered around with a trail map, taking long naps in the sunshine in the afternoons or in the tent when it rained. I ate a Snickers bar and a can of Viennas for every meal. I hiked to smaller vistas, took pictures, and ran into some other people here and there.
By the third day of my trip I was a good five miles from the car, and not far from the volcanic mountains' Crater Lake, when it hit. I scrambled behind a bush and flung my shorts off, and then hung my butt over a rock. Then, to my horror, I heard a couple of guys below me call up:
"Smells like Yeti Scat! I think she's gonna blow! We better get off this volcano!" Turning my head in that direction -- but still scattering a four-foot geyser of meow mix out my tailpipe -- I now realized that I was perched like a rafter cat in a sardine cannery over the trail below; the guys below had a bird's eye view of my wampus, grape nuts, and totem pole.
I reached into my backpack and wiped my wampus with a Snickers wrap, pulled my shorts up, and knew right then that I couldn't walk. I could crawl but not stand upright.
The hikers came along the lake and called out, "Are you OK in there?" I was laying on my side, unable to move. Those candy bars and tube steaks had frozen up my garbage disposal, and there was no reset button.
They wouldn't leave me, but instead helped me off the hill. We didn't get back to their truck until almost ten o'clock. I must have smelled like a bear that just had eaten a bag of rotted fish. They dropped me off at my car, and I was able to make it to a motel. The night manager looked at me as if I'd smeared myself with elephant dung and then had stumbled into the lobby. I made it to the toilet where I spent most of the night, and don't think I made it to the bed, either -- a fact that surely must have perplexed the maid the next day.