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STOIC POETRY | The Cold Gate Hike

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

This document is the official transcript of the Cold Gate hike. This was a very scary adventure. Not so much during the hike itself, but for the days and weeks after. And this fear increases with each passing day. I wrote about this very real danger in my book Going Alone. It's the consequence of going so far alone into wildness that we might not find our way back...even if we make it back. #GoingAlone

November 14th, 2018

Here’s tomorrow’s plan:

  • 8:00 PM arrival at Siberia, dinner & sleep

  • 3:00 AM begin hiking (drop water as I go)

  • 5:00 AM enter Deep Water Wilderness

  • 6:00 AM breakfast at the Cold Gate

  • 8:00 AM Arrival at Mt. Wildness (rest)

  • 2:00 PM return arrival at Siberia

  • 9:00 PM dinner with my family

Whatever happens I’ll turn back in time to reach the bike by 2:00 PM. And if there’s any sign at all that the Desert Killer is about, then I’ll get out of there ASAP.


8:22 PM My SPOT rescue beacon is working again. Actually, it wasn’t broken. I simply didn’t know how to use it correctly. Now, as long as I don’t fall into an old mine shaft tomorrow I should be good to go anywhere.

November 15th, 2018

5:44 AM Said bye to my family. The next time I see them I’ll be on the other side of Mt. Wildness - a strange and elusive fiction I’ve pursued for over a decade. #GoingAlone


5:56 AM Off to Mt. Wildness. A place that does not exist. #GoingAlone

The GSA packed, idyling and ready to go

12:29 PM Here's a satellite photo of Mt. Wildness showing both potential hiking approaches from Siberia. The flash flood wash at the left side of the image would be the easiest way to get there, as the river of dry sand has a very flat and gentle grade. However, this flash flood route will add about four miles to the round-trip, which would require an overnight stay (which I can't afford due to work on Saturday). The alternate route (and the one I plan to try) is to plunge directly into the badlands I call The Sandman's Bed in order to then reach and cross a small and nameless set of hills (the edge of which are pictured at upper-right. Note to self: name the hills while you're there). The odds are pretty slim that I'll actually find my way through those hills to then emerge exactly in front of Mt. Wildness, though if I'm successful I should come out at about the spot where the red arrow is shown. Getting back to Siberia then will be pretty easy as long as the heat and wind don't get too bad. I'm going to drop several liters of water along the way in order to lighten the load and use on the return trip.

My planned approach to Mt. Wildness

A caring friend just stopped by my cube to wish me well on the journey and I promised her that I'll turn back if the wind, heat or time get out-of-control.

Now, it's time to finish lunch, quit dreaming, and get in a few more hours of productive work before it's time to go.


4:36 PM Work is done. Let’s go.


6:22 PM Crap. That was a cold ride over the mountains. Time for a last supper with some hot coffee.

Gassing up in Barstow

7:00 PM Last supper before Siberia.

8:20 PM This is the first nighttime arrival at Siberia for the Winter season, 2018. There was a real cold bite in the air and my body was engaged in full body shivers when I stepped off the motorcycle into the dark. But at least there wasn't any wind. That wind. That scary, scary wind.