Saturday, 4 May 2013

Yosemite, Part III

In the afternoon of the first day, after climbing a rocky pass, I came across a glittering pool. The water was emerald green and a waterfall was crashing down into it, bringing chilled mountain water replenishment. I’d been walking all day, building up a good sweat and hadn't seen anybody since crossing paths with a family going fishing early in the morning. It seemed like the perfect wild place for a cold mountain swim.

With my clothes lying in a pile on the bank I waded in. It was cold, but I was determined. All around was high Sierra scenery and empty space - I was living the dream. This was it.

After a couple of steps, my right foot slipped on a rock. I put my left foot down suddenly to stop my fall and it landed on the upturned edge of a knife-sharp rock lying on the lake floor. With all my weight on the foot it slid along the sharpened edge of the rock.

I looked down and saw red streamers of blood swirling into the cool, clear water.

Sitting back on the bank, I had a look. There was a deep gash along the arch of my foot, and inside I could see layers and colours and squishy bits moving around. Blood oozed out and ran onto the ground.

I moved quickly to bandage it up tight, and then the grim situation began to sink in. I’d come across the world for a hiking holiday and now I’d put a gaping wound in one half of my means of transport.

A long way from help - a long way from anyone at all, I sat in the sunshine on the bank of a clear mountain lake. Like a siren of the hiking world, it had lured this unsuspecting traveller in, to meet my demise on its razor teeth.

Though I always packed a basic first aid kit, I never really considered having to use anything except bandaids for blisters. I hadn't reckoned on spilling blood on Yosemite soil.

The question loomed...what was I to do now?

It wasn't any of these lakes, but one a bit smaller. I guess I wasn't in the mood for photos at that moment.