Ashland Daily Photo
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Muir Creek “trail”

Muir Creek

Almost five months have passed since I began this story. I suppose I should write down a few more details before they fade from my mind.

I could not find a trail down to the water and the falls so I forged my own. It got a bit scary at times as it was fairly steep. I made it down with only a minor fall or two. I walked along Muir Creek for a while, realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to reach the waterfall without crossing the river. So I gave up on that idea and instead headed south along the east bank away from Muir Creek Falls. The views were beautiful without falls. I walked carefully as I was sinking in the snow, rather deeply, even with snowshoes. There was so much snow I was worried that it wasn’t all on solid ground, and I could plunge through the snow and into the water.

After today’s photo I turned around and began to retrace my steps. Walking was much easier stepping into my old prints than creating new ones as I’d only sink an inch or two with each step instead of many inches on my way down. I lost my fear and increased my pace. That was when my prior anxiety was realized. Although I stepped into my prior steps, this second time I went straight through the snow (more than four feet of snow) and into the water. My adrenaline kicked in like never before. It seemed to know that I was on my own, and if things didn’t quickly get better rather than worse I could be a dead man.

I think one of my snowshoes caught some wood at the bottom while my other was in water (with my foot still in it). My head and shoulders were above the snow (I’m 6’4″), my feet were in water, and my body was in snow. I couldn’t see my situation below the snow. I had no branches or other items on the surface to pull myself up with. As I struggled snow around me disappeared into the water below. That wasn’t good as without the snow around me I had no way of getting out. Details are foggy at this point as everything happened so fast, but I think I was able to get one of my poles up and out and onto something more solid than the snow immediately around me. My right snowshoe on a log or branch or something also gave me a bit of leverage. Somehow I got myself up and out of there.

The rest of the walk back up the mountain and to my car was uneventful. My socks, boots, and pants below my knees were frozen solid as they had gone under water before reemerging into the below freezing temperatures.

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