Adventure journal thread

Hojack

“Roads... where we’re going, we don’t need roads”
Joined
Aug 9, 2016
Messages
2,681
Location
Cascade Foothills above Eagle Creek, Oregon 🇺🇸
I am an outdoor enthusiast. Born into a family where hunting and fishing are a part of life. I learned to love the outdoors. Hunting was great but being out in nature was the best. Bagging game was just a bonus. I loved to write when I was a kid. I wrote several books I still have about living in the wild on my own in the mountains. When I got married my favorite gift from her was my adventure journal. My wife knew I had a passion to write down events on our trips.
Our first trip with the journal was to Devils Peak Lookout tower for an overnighter in the snow during November 2004. It was Thanksgiving Weekend and we debated going because of the weather. It was going to be cold. The lookout had a wood stove but no wood stored. We decided to pack a few instant fire logs for all 4 of us. There is 2 ways to get to the lookout. A steep 3,000’ climb and 4 miles or 500’ climb in a mile. Due to time we decided the shortest route.
I took my 85 Toyota 4Runner up the snow covered logging roads and broke trail through 8-12” of fresh snow. We managed to get to the trailhead a couple hours before dark. Under the thick forest canopy it was already dark. The snow helped us see a bit better though as we followed the trail toward the lookout. The trail followed the spine of Hunchback Ridge and had a great sunset view point of the Salmon River Canyon.
We pressed on and were about a 1/2 mile to the lookout when we smelled cigarette smoke. We were surprised to smell smoke as we were too far from the lookout if somebody else was smoking. My buddy Ryan led as Nikki followed, then my wife Rochelle and myself. I happened to glance toward a strange object in the woods and realized it was a person. Shocked and startled I stopped and shouted. The rest of the group turned and saw the person too. Eventually she spoke up and said in a raspy voice... do you have some water? The person was bundled up with a black bag or something covering them up. We asked if she needed help or anything else. She said she was on a spiritual journey and she had all she needed just wanted water. It was in the 20s and almost dark at this point. We told her we were headed to the lookout where there was a wood stove and beds. She said she was fine. I asked her for her name and she said Silvia. She said she’s been out on a journey for a few days. We decided to head to the lookout leaving her alone.
Getting to the lookout we joined Rob and Steve. They had climbed the Cool Creek trail and so they knew nothing about Silvia. We got a fire going with our instant fire logs and made dinner. Throughout the evening we thought of her wondering if we should go get her. When it was time for bed Rob and Steve made it clear they had taken dibs and had both beds. The floor left us no room to sleep 4 of us. Ryan and I went downstairs to a small shed under the lookout. Opened the door and started making room for us to sleep. We got the girls down and snuggled in for the night. My thermometer on my backpack read 18F. About the time I closed my eyes I heard rustling in the shed. The shed had rats. They scurried here and there. We talked long into the night as none of us could sleep and we kept talking about Silvia in the snow alone. We also talked about Rob and Steve how they could take the beds and enjoy the fire logs we brought. The girls were troopers and we laughed at least a little.
Morning couldn’t come quick enough. The sun had not even risen yet and we were packing up. Only one thing was on our mind, Silvia. It was cold, really cold. Even 4 of us snuggled together under sleeping bags were cold. We packed up and headed down the mountain. We quickly found her location. Her fingers were sticking out from under the black plastic garbage bag were snow white. She had frost covering her face and she looked dead. In a frantic we began shouting Silvia wake up. After 5 minutes and thinking she was dead her eyes slowly opened. She was alive but barely. After that we told her we were going for help. We ran to my 4Runner and were able to get a signal and call 911. It took a 4x4 ambulance from Government Camp over an hour to get there. Ryan and I took EMS back in to get Silvia. She was in severe hypothermia. We pulled off the plastic bag and a smell of foul lofted into the air. She had been urinating and pooping there.
She said she had been there a few days. She went on a hike ill prepared and got wet by the rain. An arctic blast from Canada came and quickly changed rain to snow. She sat down there and said she was ready to die. Her daughter hated her so she told us the spiritual journey was here passing away. Her shoes were frozen to her feet so we had to cut them off. She had frostbite and gangrene. The medics said she definitely didn’t have much longer to live. We cut her clothes off, some frozen to her skin. We got warm blankets on her and carried her back out the trail to the ambulance and the girls. We helped load her up and they headed off to OHSU in Portland.
We visited Silvia in the hospital where we learned she would have amputation on some fingers and toes. She said she didn’t want amputation and knew a acupuncturist who could help. The acupuncturist actually saved her fingers and toes.
This event was my first adventure journal. My wife and I had only been married 3 months. It was a very emotional trip and we are very thankful God spared Silvia from our guilt if she had died.
Below is a report and new media from the event.
Below are pictures of another trip to Devils Peak lookout tower.
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In my journal I started drawing more sketches as the years went on and spending more time on the sketches. I really enjoy recapturing the adventure over and over again.
Post here your adventures. I thought it’d be a great thread to share our outdoor experiences.
 
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