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Best "Death March" stories.

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Re: Best "Death March" stories.

Postby BrianF » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:20 pm

Wow WD, I have nothing to compare to that! I have a few delays, backtracks and punts in my backpacking career, but nothing I would call a death march. Climbing has been a bit spicier, but only a few unplanned bivvies, "exciting" retreats, and close calls with rockfall, avys or weather but nothing truly harrowing or desperate.
The only thing I can call a death march was a spur of the moment dayhike we took when I was in my early twenties. It was a 42 mile out and back hike in the San Rafael wilderness to Mission Pine Basin, with about 9000' of gain/loss. We left the trailhead about 7 AM and got back in the wee small hours. Keep in mind, this was the mid 70s when it was standard procedure to wear mountain boots while hiking - so a good 4+ lbs on the feet, we were just barely hobbling at about 1 mile per hour in the dark the last few miles.
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher

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Re: Best "Death March" stories.

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:45 am

Back in 1998 a buddy and I hiked down the Rubicon river, thinking that the fishing along the way would be fantastic. We hiked from the Ellicott Bridge, down to the powerhouse at the bottom of Mosquito Ridge Road, 21 miles of pure misery. We carried our float tubes, and lacking waterproof packs, we carried our gear in 5 gallon waterproof buckets. Dumb.

Well, long story short: I almost drowned the first day, we had close encounters with rattlesnakes twice, a boulder almost rolled onto my friend, his sleeping bag got soaked the first day, so we had to camp at places with plenty of firewood, which he kept raging all night long so he could stay warm while he slept. The trip took a day longer than we planned, so we ran out of food, and then about a mile before the powerhouse, a bunch of drunk gold miners shot their guns over our heads to warn us off. Since our clothes were wet almost constantly, the inside of our legs became so chafed that they finally bled and it was rather painful to walk. And to top it all off: the fishing SUCKED!

I've learned a lot since that trip, but every slog since then, in comparison, has been a breeze.
"Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man." --Jeff Lebowski

Some pics of native salmonids:
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Re: Best "Death March" stories.

Postby rlown » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:40 pm

sounds like a great trip.. if there wasn't a bit of angst in some our trips, we wouldn't learn from all that.

When i did the Rubicon area, we targeted the lakes. The river itself is fast, deep and doesn't give much back.

I started my stuff in the Moke wilderness. Out of salt springs, there are snakes everywhere. kind of slows you down, esp when you step over one and you get lucky. But, that place is cool for natural hot tubs that you can clean out, heat rocks, and have a really nice soaking experience. Mokelumne is just steep. Love the place, esp 4th of July lk, but as I didn't fish it, I was more into hiking it. Reminds me a lot of Trinity Alps for some reason.
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Re: Best "Death March" stories.

Postby Cross Country » Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:06 pm

To sparky and to Wandering Daisy: These were not the kind of stories I expected but were GREAT, repeat GREAT stories. To BrianF I cant imagine hiking 42 miles in any conditions. I hope other people with lesser stories (like mine) will recount their experiences. Thank you. Thanks to all the recounts.
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