You think I would have gotten the hint after the "You have angered the gods" dream.
At any rate, I had two of these this weekend, but thanks to the glorious powers of selective memory, I’ve managed to forget the more gruesome of the pair. In the one I do remember, S and I are embarking on a hike in the White Mountains (NH, not AZ) and I am woefully under-equipped. Instead of my normal gear, I’m wearing a wool overcoat and have some small amount of food stashed in my messenger bag. For some reason, I find the overcoat too bulky and restricting, and we stop off at a restaurant/hostel along the path so I can stash it. When we get there, it’s getting dark and a light snow is falling.
After some soup and a couple of conversations, we head out again, this time with a group of inexperienced teenagers who have decided to come along to benefit from my ‘expertise.’ We walk in the dark, crushing snow beneath our boots and bundling our heads against the snow that’s falling heavier now, and I state outright that if the weather gets any worse (?!), we will have to turn back. I’m asked why and I start sharing what I’ve picked up over the years. The Whites are considered some of the most dangerous mountains in the world because the weather patterns are so unpredictable. Every mountain and valley somehow generates its own microclimate and the variation can have you crest a sunny ridge in high summer only to find yourself trapped in a blizzard. Every year has another tragic story that begins "We were hiking the White Mountains in the winter and..."
These are all things I know, and still I pressed on into a rising storm. We reached the first ridge (I think we were coming out of Crawford Notch), and ran into a party coming down the trail who spoke of worsening conditions approaching Mt. Washington. Instead of saying that we should turn around right then, I suggested that we forego the ~10 mi. hike to Washington and try to summit one of the lesser peaks that lie along this western spur. Everyone in the other party laughed and then proceeded to head downward to safety. All eyes in my group turned to me, and I stood paralyzed, transfixed by a farmhouse in an impossible location I saw in the distance.