It was three days before my birthday. I had always wanted to go to the mountains, and what better time than my birthday? When I was a kid, me and my family went to the mountains every fall. With my fathers death last year I wanted to go to the mountains to spread his ashes. I had been planning this trip for months and was leaving December first.
I got to the airport at about 6:00 A.M. My flight left at 7::00 A.M. so I had a bit of time to kill. I went to the sandwich shop and bought a crappy overpriced sandwich and a bottled water. By the time I was done it was about 6:40 a:m and I went to go board my flight. It was a very small plane going deep in the mountains where not many tourist adventure. During the flight there wasn’t much to do for the plane I booked was not the most luxurious. I was on a pretty tight budget this year because I wasn’t the most frugal with my spending this year.
After the flight had landed at the small Alaskan bush town at the bottom of Mount Sanford there wasn’t much to do. The population was no more than 100 people. I had to stay in a small cabin in the middle of town because there were no hotels for the lack of visitors. The cabin was nice on the inside with electricity running water and heating.
The next morning I started my ascent up the mountain. I wasn’t climbing Mount Sanford but I was climbing one of the smaller mountains off to the side. It didn’t take long before I started getting pretty tired so I reached in my bag and had a little snack which consisted of a granola bar raisins and a bottle of water. After the quick break I resumed climbing. It wasn’t long before the sun started to set, but I kept climbing. I climbed for about another hour when it began getting too dark to climb.
I set up my camp on a ledge on the side of the mountain. The camp consisted of a tent with a sleeping bag and a small campfire. On the campfire I cooked my dinner which was just a can of beans, beef jerky, and a bottle of water. I went to sleep after dinner and woke up at 5:30 A.M.
In the morning I had to pick up my camp which took about an hour to get everything folded and put away. I kept hiking up and could barely see the town I stayed in. Climbing the mountain was a lot harder than I had remembered. I remembered how my parents would always struggle to keep up with me and now I can see why.
I reached in my bag for my GPS to see what my elevation was. I looked for about 15 minutes taking everything out and then putting it all back in but no GPS. I was stranded. I considered going back, but I was already this far. So I kept going up the mountain.
After about another 200 yards over the course of two days I was finally at the top.
I sat on my knees and took a breath and reached in my bag and grabbed the ashes. I took the lid of the jar and opened the bag inside. I spread the ashes at the tip top of the mountain.
I set up my tent and built a fire. That night I ate one of the ready to eat meals I had and went to bed. The next morning when I opened up the tent I was blocked in by snow and could hear the wind blowing snow everywhere. I could still see sunlight through the top of the tent. I pulled out my knife and cut a hole just big enough for me to fit through. I pushed my bag out and followed after. The snow was everywhere and the wind was still blowing it. I couldn’t see but three yards in front of me. I started moving around seeing if I could find anything that looked familiar from yesterday but everything was covered in about five foot of snow and every step I took I sunk down two feet. It was terrifying. I was never trained for this.
I started heading down the mountain side hoping I was going the right way. I walked about three hours until the sun started to fall. I had no tent and just a little stuff to make a fire. Once the fire was set up I could hear wolves all around me getting closer and closer. I figured if I stay near the fire they wouldn’t come at me. They started getting even closer until I could see them, they just kept coming closer and then one pounced on me and bit me in the arm dragging me into the dark. It kept dragging me farther and farther back and then it stopped and I felt nothing.
The next morning I think I was out for a while I don’t know. When I woke up My hands were purple. There was ice on my eyelashes and under my nose. I couldn't move. I could hear buzzing faintly. Overhead was an orange helicopter. A basket came down with a careflight nurse and I was loaded up. The flight felt like forever. I don't even remember getting to the hospital. When I woke up the nurse said that I was out for three days. I was missing two fingers on each hand and two toes. I was still alive!!!