|Organ Needle is the round peak on the right.|
Photo from visitusa.com
|Working our way up the mountain.|
|Resting after his injury.|
After about five hours of fairly intense uphill hiking we came upon a wall that would lead us to the peak. Joe climbed up about half way only to realize that the peak we were looking for was not, in fact, the one he was currently on. As he was making his way down, he suddenly started losing his footing and began frantically taking off his pack, while grasping at the side of his chest. He was completely unable to speak but the look on his face was so intensely pained that I thought for a second he might try to throw himself off the mountain for a quick end. From where I stood, nothing had visibly fallen or hit him in the chest so I wondered if he was having a heart attack. He stayed completely still for a few long moments before tentatively finishing the route down. Once on solid ground we had him lie down and eat a little. In my pack I had Ibuprofen and Ace bandages so we fixed him up as well as we could. He didn’t know for sure what had happened but guessed that he may have sprained or pulled a rib muscle because of the way he had contorted his body while coming down.
|On the top of Organ Needle.|
After eating and resting a little he announced that he was ready to get to the peak. Now, in fairness, the peak was only about 150 feet away, but I suggested that we just forget about it and make our way down. Guess who won? So up to the peak we went before returning down. Normally going back would take half the time of going up, if not a little less. For us, it took an entire five hours, the last couple of which were done in complete darkness.
While making our way down we got off the trail several times and usually didn’t realize it until we met a cliff and couldn’t proceed forward any more. The mountain itself is quite steep and didn’t contribute ease to an injured hiker, so even without navigational difficulties it would have been a rather unpleasant hike back. With darkness approaching and Joe’s mysterious chest wound, the return hike was completely terrifying. Right before the sun left us for the night we realized again that we were not where we needed to be. At this point we were still in the thick of the mountain and absolutely would not have been able to find our way out in the dark. After a quick assessment Joe found the trail we needed, and after a few miles of hiking we arrived at my little car waiting in the pitch black desert.
|Rapidly losing much needed sunlight.|
|Demonstrating balance even when being scolded to|
GET DOWN FROM THERE!