OBSERVATIONS ON POST-SUNSET DESCENT
(Inspired by an interesting return from East Wilman Spire)
When racing the sun down a rock-covered slope, it is better to rush and continually regain balance than to attempt to keep your balance with every step. Stopping to catch yourself after each rock that rolls underfoot will triple your time and use just as much energy as stepping down to the next rock and trusting that you'll have your balance back in 3 or 4 steps.
When you're in a hurry minor falls are a minor annoyance; they're worth the time saved by racing downhill.
In the event of injury, disregard observations 1 and 2.
Every foot of ground covered in daylight, rather than by flashlight, is time saved. Your last daylight may be weak, but it covers all the ground ahead, whereas your flashlight covers a small spot. Once you break out your flashlight you sacrifice not only the time needed to get it out of your pack, but your night vision.
If your trail was so faint you lost it in daylight on the way in, you may have difficulty finding it in the dark.
When bushwhacking salmonberry and devil's club by headlamp, do not expect to see the ground. The leaves closest to your face will block your view and blind your eyes to any dimly-lit features beyond.
When traveling fast you can be overheated even at night in shorts in Autumn.
A climbing helmet sometimes helps when bushwhacking headfirst through salmonberry and devil's club.
When Observation #7 is in force to the point that you are continually blinded by sweat, then Observation #8 may not apply.
The Hierarchy of Thorns is not what it appears to be: devil's club bristles with long thorns that you can walk right through; salmonberry thorns are smaller and sparser, but the stems tangle so the thorns drag across your body, drawing blood; huckleberries have no thorns, but their dried and broken stems will stop you in your tracks to gasp for breath and mouth words you wouldn't want your mother to hear.
There is a point, known as the Flail Threshold, beyond which Observation #11 does not apply.
In the case of sunburn the Flail Threshold comes at first contact.
The Flail Threshold is not the time to consider sunscreen. That was twelve hours earlier.
All the investigations of modern physics have not found a single instance of an atom going back in time a single nanosecond, let alone a mountaineer going back 12 hours to put on sunscreen. Just put it on in in the morning and go forward in time with the rest of us.
Mosquitoes, gnats, and moths that have no record of porch lights even in their deepest ancestral memories know exactly what to do around a headlamp in the woods.
When bushwhacking salmonberries and devil's club in the dark and stumbling over invisible rocks below, it is possible to inhale in a single breath an entire swarm of mosquitoes, gnats, and moths enjoying the light of your headlamp.
The symptoms of acute bronchitis need not be restricted to those harboring an infection. Half-hour fits of uncontrollable coughing are also observed in persons who have inhaled an entire swarm of mosquitoes, gnats, and moths while bushwhacking salmonberries and devil's club at night.
A seldom-used trail, once found, is still hard to follow when it enters deep woods with no underbrush. Look for areas where the sticks on the ground are generally shorter.
When you arrive at Monte Cristo dehydrated because the stream you have been following is posted as having bad water, you will find that the person who fills your bottles gets water piped to his cabin directly from that stream.
When bicycling down the Monte Cristo road with your headlamp worn high atop your head to keep the light out of your eyes, the lamp will shake franticly, illuminating a larger portion of the ground ahead, none of it clearly.
Riding down the Monte Cristo road in the dark takes twice as long as riding up it in daylight.
Leaving home two hours earlier can get you back home four hours earlier. Much can be accomplished in the car and hiking good trail before dawn.
Right. Like I'm going to get out of bed that early.
"Some things are worth a little bushwhacking."