Mt Katahdin Gone Awry - part 4

continued from Part 3

Part 4

I knew what I had to do. Making sure Libby was set for a little while, I took off and took off fast up the rest of the knife edge ridge towards South Peak. Fifteen minutes later I reached the peak and Mac and Jenny were staring at me opened mouthed. Mac shook his head in disbelief and said he had never seen someone climb so fast. Of course since Libby was not with me they knew something was up. We were the only three people left on South Peak and I could only see one man moving far ahead towards Baxter Peak. After Mac’s disbelief in my ability to fly over the ridge, he and Jenny asked where Libby was. I looked back and said that we had a situation.

Mac looked at me and asked what had happened. I simply told him and Jenny that Libby had injured her knee and could not walk. I said she felt she had torn something inside and she could not even stand on it. Jenny took a deep breath and asked what we were going to do and Mac was asking how far down the ridge Libby was.

I took a seat on a boulder and said, “OK, this is the deal. Libby is about halfway back the ridge in a notch surrounded by boulders. We slid down into the notch and to get out you need to scramble up the top side.” Mac said he remembered that spot and how tricky it was to get up this side of it. I continued, “She cannot walk on her right leg or even put pressure on it. There was nobody behind us and she is literally in about the worst spot to get to. The sun is settling in the west and the temperature is starting to drop. There is a breeze also starting to sweep in from the west. “

We sat in silence for a moment and I broke in by saying Mac and I had to go back down the ridge and try helping Libby up to South Peak. We all agreed and Jenny would remain on South Peak waiting for us. She was in no condition to go all the way back down the boulder strewn ridge and back up again. So Mac and I began moving down the knife’s edge back towards Libby who could not be seen from where we were.

Luckily Mac was in great shape like I was so we moved down fairly quickly. Libby was sitting there waiting and just sheepishly smiled at us. I could easily see the concern she was hiding. It was getting quite cool where she was since the ridge was so steep it stole the late afternoon sun. After realizing that neither Mac or I could carry her alone, we decided we were going to have to make an arm cradle for her to sit in and carry her together all the way up to South Peak. It was about our only realistic option.

First we wrapped her knee with one of my shirts for a bit of support, but not too tight as to create more pain for her. I was on her right side and Mac was on her left. We grabbed each other’s forearms and made a square seat which Libby scooted into. Now, bent and arm-locked together with the weight of Libby pressing down hard, we started slowly navigating the boulders. In seconds we realized to get her out of the notch, I had to get on top of the rocks and pull her by her arms while Mac stayed below and pushed upward. With great struggle we finally managed to get her out of the notch and reform the arm-lock chair. Back to navigating the extremely rough terrain of the infamous knife edge ridge of Mt Katahdin.

It seemed to take forever, but with terrible difficulty and perseverance, we managed to finally make the top of South Peak where Jenny was waiting. We sat Libby down and by that time the pain of her knee had amplified greatly. Mac was breathing a sigh of relief and then looked at me and said, “Now what?”

Now what indeed. I looked over to Baxter Peak, across another very boulder strewn ridge and surprisingly there was one person’s silhouette. Nobody else could be seen anywhere in any direction from our crow’s nest view of 5,620 feet. The sun’s light had dramatically waned and the slight breeze had picked up to around a 15 mph wind. The four of us decided the fastest of us needed to head up to Baxter Peak to see if we could catch that person in hopes they had a phone. Well, it was also decided the fastest person was me.

to be continued in Part 5



Its so interesting how the universe sometimes, many times really is just patiently awaiting us the 'listen' and circumstances or people just appear. Good stuff. Following along. Poor Libby!
I'm really into this and can't wait for part 5. I was an obsessive hiker pre-ME. Thanks for sharing this with us. Your writing is extraordinary.
Thank you and vey happy you are enjoying the story :) Some day you'll have to tell me what some of your favorite places to hike were.

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Nord Wolf
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