The featured image above shows the beginning of the descent from the northwest end of the Akamina Ridge. A little to the left of center, almost a kilometer down, is Wall Lake. The path starts immediately at the bottom of this photo. It might not look like a path, but it is. And it is exceedingly rugged.
By the time you get down to Wall, your knees and thighs probably won’t be on speaking terms with you.
The same goes for the Goat Lake trail, which has a nineteen-percent grade at times.
There’s a special way to tie your boots, so you won’t blacken your toenails. But sometimes even that doesn’t help.
This, however, is what the Crandell Lake Trail looks like in the wintertime. Much more gentle.
Compare Crandell with Lineham below, which Charlie hiked alone a couple months earlier and almost died.
Try to imagine hiking on the trail in the second and third photos during a blizzard, with zero visibility at times, and the trail completely buried under blowing snow. One small step off that trail, and you’d lose your balance, and you’d drop into soft powder snow. Deep soft powder.
And then you add in the postholing that Charlie had to negotiate, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.
Charlie had intended to go beyond the “Trails End” sign to get closer to the falls for some sun-on-ice shots. But obviously, because of the blizzard, that didn’t happen.
And as you saw at the end of the chapter, Charlie’s attempting to photograph Lineham Falls in the wintertime would never happen again. Ever.
This attempt had almost killed him. It should have. And they might not have found his body, what was left of it, until spring.
“He was still shaking when he got home. He kept crying and choking up as he told BJ what had happened. She just sat quietly, white-faced, saying nothing.
“In the end, he’d promised her, and himself, that he would never, ever go out alone on a winter hike like that again.”
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