Saturday, December 28, 2019

A Two-Year Old Adventure

I got a great book for Christmas, Beyond the Trees, by Adam Shoalts, the story of his epic paddle/treck across the Arctic beyond the treeline, from the Dempster Highway to Hudson Bay.  I'm already nearing the end of it, and really enjoying it.  It's got me thinking about my own adventures, which has taken me back to one of the last hikes before I ended up paralyzed.

It was this sign, and the accompanying description in the trail guide referring to "those hikers who might be claustrophobic..." that led me to choose this section of trail, and given the apparent risk, I asked a friend to come with me.  I've explored many crevices without any warning signs so this one should be an interesting challenge.

The trail started off innocently enough, a clear path through the woods in a land covered in a thin layer of white stuff.

We saw lots of ferns and mosses which obviously didn't mind the damp cold conditions, if anything looking greener than ever.

Eventually we came to the crevice, a path through the moss-covered rocks that didn't look too difficult to me.

The crevices were about 15-20 feet deep, and pretty easy walking.  At least there was only a little climbing over boulders.  It certainly was narrow in places.

But my fellow hiker mentioned that he had a touch of claustrophobia and was actually finding this a little difficult.  He found a place where he could climb out and take the bypass trail, while I met him at the end.

It made me think of how I feel more 'claustrophobic in a crowd of people; this adventurous hike off by ourselves was just fine for me!


The snow is pretty well gone now as we've had a remarkable mild spell for over a week.  But it's about to end with a 'Texas Low' sweeping up from the gulf bringing lots of rain starting tomorrow afternoon.  The trouble is that Arctic air is sweeping down at the same time, so the forecast is for a serious (the Weather Network says 'treacherous') episode of freezing rain with dangerous roads and power outages.  We'll see what tomorrow brings!  We're just outside the danger zone, so hopefully we'll escape the worst of it.


  1. That looks like a tight fit for some people! I'm not sure how I would feel in there.

  2. That is a very good looking trail. I would not want to take the tight fit. We were offered a chance to go through Hezekiah's Tunnel in Jerusalem but we didn't. It was filled with water areas and large steps. He would use it to get away from enemies. We didn't think we could do it. People we toured with came back very wet.

  3. We have hiked some trails like that in years past. Don't think I could do it now.
    We lived through the last BAD ice storm but we are much better prepared now. We have jugs of water and lot of firewood for our wood burner and a generator. Living back in the boonies we're generally the first to lose the grid.

  4. Love those narrow deep cracks in the bedrock. We have one down here called "The Labyrinth" which is very similar to that in your post.

  5. I've hiked a few slot canyons like that in the southwest and think I would have been fine with that one you did but I do remember years ago somewhere up in your area or over towards Collingwood we came across a spot called 'Fat Man's Misery' or something like that. I looked at that and thought, 'Nope that is not for me, not even going to try that!!'

  6. I'd love to have joined you on that hike. Claustrophobia can be a serious condition causing severe panic attacks. I've had to deal with someone with a panic attack and I can tell you it's no fun and I certainly wouldn't want someone to have one in a remote and rugged place. So the by-pass is a good idea for some people. Your fear of crowds is 'agoraphobia' which actually means "fear of the public square" in old Greek.

    1. I'm so glad to get a name for how I feel! It's especially tricky if there are children around and I'm in a wheelchair!

  7. I remember that hike when you did it. With all that awful weather on the way, I do hope you and family stay home to ring in the new year! :-)

  8. I remember spots further south on the escarpment with crevices like that.

  9. I too get more claustrophobic in crowds of people. It must be bittersweet recalling adventures such as this. All the best for the New Year.