We all have those days that aren’t fun in the moment but once we get home, take a shower, and let our sore feet recover, become a fun story to tell (and hear), and even a valuable lesson. We’re asking goEast readers to share their Type 2 Tales so we can all learn from them and figure out how to avoid being in the same scary situations.

Back in July 2021, I planned an “epic” weekend in the Adirondacks to include three days of hiking, eight peaks, and over 45 miles. The week leading up to that weekend had seen rain almost daily, and I knew that conditions were going to be wet. That being said, I left home on Friday morning at roughly 1:30 a.m. in order to hit the trailhead at the Adirondack Loj nice and early. I was planning on hiking Tabletop Mountain and Mount Marshall (two peaks that I was missing from my 46er journey).

Right from the start, things weren’t going as planned. Instead of being a “drier” day, as the forecast said, it was still raining. A lot. In fact, my boots were already wet within the first mile of a planned 19 mile day. When I got to the first stream crossing (which usually involves only hopping over a few rocks), I was met with water that was mid-thigh high. Getting around it involved rerouting almost 45 minutes. I continued to the trail leading up Tabletop, getting muddier and wetter with each step, and finally summitted about 1.5 hours behind my goal. How were the views? Socked in, nothing but clouds.

I descended down, had to cross another stream (knee high water this time), and came across the first person of the day. I was carrying on in conversation while putting on my socks and boots, instead of double checking my navigation for the next part of the trek. I needed to make a right, but instead went left. And went left for a while. With each passing minute, I questioned when I would reach the next “destination.” Two miles later, I realized my epic mistake. I had reached the “floating logs,” which we’re exceptionally more floaty than usual. I had to backtrack those two miles, which tacked on another hour of the trip (and two more hours in total). Once I was at the next check point I needed to make a decision: keep going, or call it a day. I had plenty of daylight (it was just before noon), and I had roughly 8 more miles to go for the day. Even though I had started to get some ankle soreness from slogging along in muddy boots, I decided to go for it.

After walking around Avalanche Lake, I made it to the trailhead for Mount Marshall. I took the first herd path I came across up the mountain, not realizing that it was truly the road less traveled. The long, slow hike up the mountain eventually revealed a rock cairn which lead me to the summit. I continued along the trail, getting a bit more fatigued and sorer with each step, and got to the top…of a false summit. Knowing the true summit was a little over a quarter mile away, I decided to drop my backpack to go tag it. I reached the summit at 4:30 p.m., and sent my mom a “I’m alive but running a bit behind” text. I started down the mountain, picked up the herd path and soon questioned my surroundings. I was not going the right way, but this was the only herd path around. I continued for a few more minutes, to only turn  around and backtrack. I looked around, and saw no other paths. I took out my map, but without a compass, had difficulty orienting my location. I decided to head back to the summit, and try to retrace the trail back to my backpack. I got to the top, but with the heavy rains, I couldn’t find anything but the herd path I had just been on.

After multiple attempts at trying to find my way back to my backpack, I paused, took a breath, and told myself, “You have to get your stuff together.” It had been nearly an hour since I first summitted, and I had about 3 hours of daylight left, and still 8 miles of hiking to go. I decided to leave the backpack, since I had no food, water, and most importantly, no headlamp in it anyway (thankfully I kept my keys, wallet, and phone in my pockets). I took one big gulp of mountain fresh water out of the stream near the base of the mountain, and sent it down the mountain. I eventually made it back to the car at 9 p.m., logging 29 miles along the way. Sitting down, drinking water, and eating food never felt so good.

There is a silver lining at least. I wrote in the trail registry that I left my backpack on the mountain, and received a phone call the next day from a courageous individual who carried the backpack back to the Adirondack Loj. I’ve since downloaded AllTrails and use that to doublecheck my map reading. And most importantly, I won’t drop my pack along trails that aren’t at major intersection points. Lessons were learned, memories were made, peaks were climbed, and I came out in one piece. Talk about some Type 2 fun. Tim R (@timreynolds10)