Carefully, I lower myself down the slick bank and fill both bottles, check the compass again, then head back due west. At this point, I continue scrutinizing the map not in hope of finding myself--but to prove how impossible the task is. Had the weather remained clement another day, it's likely that these frequent hallmarks of lost person behavior would have been the extent of my experiment in wilderness immersion. But when nature is at her pitiless worst, being lost is dreadful. But the weather deteriorated. Creating and manipulating these cognitive maps requires distinct high-powered skills, from visual memory to the ability to mentally rotate objects in space. Aggipah Mountain: TL, PB, LOJ, Map The scenery is excellent, but this is a remote location protected by 50 miles of dirt road, which helps keeps the crowds away. For now, the scent of roasting meat floats in the smoke--a promise of nourishment, safety, and heat. After about 11 miles of hiking, we had tents up and a warm meal in our bellies by about 8:30pm. Thanks! White Clouds The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is 98 miles of free-flowing river in the heart of the Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness. Aggipah Mountain from the upper lake. Rugged, wild and beautiful – it was a place I’d hoped to maybe get in one good trip during my lifetime when I figured I’d be living in the Southeast for the rest of my life. Map of the route, 36 miles and 10,600' gain round trip. I'd like to say that at least I have the splendor of the wilderness to refresh my spirits. Take off on a backpacking (BP) trip for a few days of course! Whether you've spent the day hiking through unfamiliar woods, or scrutinizing topographical maps to plan an alpine crossing, sleep will help fix new bearings into your cognitive map. I checked the map and decided on wandering up the trail towards West Horse Point with absolutely no intention of arriving there. Restore formatting, × After crossing lodgepole pine- and aspen-filled avalanche chutes, ford Loon Creek. Surely if I march toward these summits, I can stop the aimless circling I've mistaken for progress. For long stretches, I've traveled in each of these directions. I took my time packing up, partly to let the fly dry as much as possible from the brief pre-dawn deluge, but mostly just to enjoy a Saturday morning within earshot of the stream. Idaho Photo Links I follow this to a paddock where a herd of 20 mules and horses turn in unison to look me over. Though I'm no Daniel Boone, during most of my time in the Frank the weather's been great, my provisions adequate, and the satellite phone a reassuring safety net. Area Trails I was skeptical it would actually happen, but sure enough we were up by 4am and hiking by just after 5am. The Frank actually contains some of the last critical habitat for these endangered “ghosts of the woods,” which have been known to chase off grizzlies and wolves--then steal their prey. For two hours, I clawed up a mountainside through felled firs--thousands of crosshatched trunks and splintered branches poised to skewer my eyeballs and groin. In adulthood, she needs a guide to go to the grocery store, movies, or anywhere besides work. The trail cuts through drenched bracken, and soon my pant legs are soaked. Again, I try to spy the faint outline of a trail on either side of the ravine, and finding nothing like what the map says should be here, I begin to shiver. Whatever measures it takes, I'm determined to never let it happen to me again. Something, it seems, is living in my basement, but I'm much too exhausted to consider relocating. Stunning rock formations, churning whitewater, vivid pictographs, mining remnants and historic homesteads, all beckoned me to pull over rather than roll on by. For the first time in the wilderness, I face a consequential choice. I register a truth our ancestors surely knew: For all the majesty and inspiration the wilderness can provide, it couldn't care less if it heartens or breaks us. I am as close to crying as I've been in years. Beginning with the northeast quadrant, my eyes again slowly sweep the top row of squares from left to right. Ahh, there’s nothing like breakfast in the high country. May 7, 2016. You can take the blindfold off now, yells Dan, the bush pilot, over the propeller's whine. After that excitement, I elected to go climb some peaks while the others fished and explored Ship Island Lake.