Enchanted Valley 2022

Enchanted Valley 2022

This trip is one that I will remember forever. It all started with a bear spray.

We reached to the car-camping place close to the trailhead one night before. We were setting up camp on our old tent, getting ready to sleep and recover for the long hike to come.

Setting up camp

The bear spray fell off of Bilbo (the car), hitting a rock and getting punctured. Karla froze for what felt like 5 seconds, and it was probably just half a second. However I perceived it as I saw her getting sprayed in the face, just standing frozen with the orange gas beam pointing directly upwards to her face.

"Run, run, run!" I'm sure people around us thought something was going to explode, or that we saw a huge animal coming at us.

Bear spray is very effective... It smells like a thousand habaneros. It doesn't tickle or burn as I would've expected. It just makes you cough. My shoe was sprayed, and for weeks all it took was for me to move the shoe and I'd start coughing. We ventilated Bilbo, as even thought it was closed, somehow we coughed when we went inside.

On the morning, I learned that Alina had a bear spray in her car, so I asked to borrow it for the trip. I'm sure I'll never use it, but the spray will prevent me from doing something stupid like running upon sight of a bear.

All happy, not knowing what's to come

The first half of the day went unremarkable. Good trail, good weather.

I had hopped to stop for lunch at a creek that appeared to be big on the map. It was completely dry. Somehow, one of the small seasonal creeks in a mile or so was all full, so we stopped there to fuel up and gather water.

Having The Lunchâ„¢

We continued with our trek, all happy with full stomachs, only stopping to put on rain gear. We got a bit of hail, but all in all, it was mostly a dry hike.

Alina preparing to scare the rain away with her rain gear

We later saw a HUGE bear next to the trail. Hikers in front of us obviously missed it, as they all walked like nothing. The bear was just staring at us, puffing up the shoulders and back. It looked very annoyed. We decided to keep walking. Do not look him in the eye, do not run, and let's keep looking from time to time to see we're not being followed.

We were walking in line with one another. I couldn't shake the feeling that we looked like a sushi bar to the bear.

We kept walking and happy, before the incident happened.

I look at this pic and a sadness strikes me to think that this was the last happy picture of her from that trip. She still thought everything was going to be great

The bridge was dry, and even thought the river was roaring, it didn't feel as intimidating as I remembered.

We then, about 15 minutes before reaching Enchanted Valley, had to cross a creek.

At this creek, Karla was the last in the group to cross. She fell and all I heard was a guy make a concerned expression.

As I looked back, Karla was floating and looking up (sad turtle position) and getting dragged by the current towards some branches that made a strainer trap. Now, I don't remember this, but Marc says I jumped and flew past him to get to Karla. She was shocked and wouldn't listen to my requests for her to grab my hand. She was just shocked. A very nice guy from another group helped me pull her out of the cold pool

This is the place of the incident. Very innocent looking

Karla expressed pain from some scraping on her forearm. Her rain cover had gather about a gallon of water that I poked to get out. Once upon at camp, she saw that she injured her shin. After I setup the tent, I got to see the injury. By this time it was mostly clean, and with what seemed to be fat lumps visible.

Karla was panicking, but she had blue lips and was shivering uncontrollably. She heeded my pleas to get into the tent only after Alina expressed the same idea: hypothermia is more pressing than the minor bleeding from that wound.

She had some hot drinks, changed into dry clothing and got a sleeping bag and pad. We treated the wound by irrigating with an antiseptic, closed with steri-strips, and hoped for the best.

The plan was to stay another day at the valley to enjoy the place. However with fear of letting possible infection to develop an extra day, we decided to hike out the next day. We couldn't pry into the wound to see if there was something embedded still inside.

Having night clothes and the quilt in dry bags saved Karla. The night temps were below freezing
The chair had some frost still when I took this pic in the morning

The valley was beautiful and we tried to enjoy it as much as we could, but another half marathon awaited us for the day.

The day went pretty much the same. We saw more bears, we stopped at a creek for lunch and water.

No stitches were done at the urgent care, as the wound was m ore than 16 hours old.

The learning here was that a patient is not to be trusted to self-report injuries. I did a full body check in the tent, but only after we knew about the other wound. Thankfully she didn't hit her head.