We woke up to the howl of the wind and cackle of the rain on the tin roof of the hut. We knew we had an especially brutal 9 km ahead until we reached the legendary hot pools of the Welcome Flat Hut. We began our trek through the steep and stony forest on the now soaked path that served more as a stream. We were already soaked but determined to make it to the welcome confines of the next hut. We marched along until we reached a raging waterfall that rivaled anything we’ve seen on our numerous white-water rafting trips.
A vigorous debate began about whether we should traverse the treacherous waterfall or turn back and walk the 10 km back to safety. Eventually we reached the consensus that we would head back and try to beat the rising river that now resembled something you’d find in the rain forests of Brazil (or at least I think). Little did we know that the adventure was just beginning…
The hike back was one of the most physically and mentally draining stretches I have endured. We encountered several impassable streams and waterfalls that we either had to cross together in partner groups with arms linked or go over and around the river, fighting through endless underbrush without a trail. All of this occurred under some of the heaviest rain I’ve ever experienced. (Being from the Texas Gulf Coast, this is a strong statement).
The end of the journey back to the safety of the car served as a culmination of everything we had made it through to that point. We faced a raging, over-flowing river filled with countless rapids and drop offs. We could see our car but had no choice but to cross this fortress of fast-moving, icy, glacier water. After a multitude of alternatives were discussed, we decided that the four of us would link together and cross. We linked up, not without plenty of fear and doubt, and plunged into the icy water. The four of us were able to withstand the force of the rapid and make it safely to shore. I had never been more relieved. We sat by the car in our soaking wet clothes and recounted our incredible escape.