It was along one of the trails through the woods where I came upon trouble. I was hiking along a connector trail from a main trail to the paved path around the lake and there was a muddy section in the middle of the trail. It appeared that folks had walked through the mud. There were also small logs and branches in the mud to act as "bridges" through it. You could also tell that many people had walked around the muddy area, widening the trail and even creating other trails around this area. I decided to go for less impact and continue through the mud along the branches. Right in the middle of this area, my left foot slipped off of the small log that I was walking along and I sunk into the mud up to my knee. Now, off balance, my right foot also slipped and now I was sinking into the mud with both legs covered almost over my knees!! I tried to pull my leg up and it would not come, the mud was like cement, holding me down. Finally, I was able to slip my right foot out of my shoe and get my leg up and onto more stable ground. But my lovely (relatively new!!) Keen hiking shoe was still in the mud. I did not want to lose it, so I reached down for it. Now my arm was in the mud up to my shoulder!! I was feeling around for the shoe and finally could feel it. Grabbing the laces I pulled and pulled, trying to wrest it free from the mud. At this point my left leg is still in the mud and with the pressure I was exerting trying to remove my shoe, it was sinking deeper. I never really panicked, knowing that dozens of dog walkers, joggers and fishermen were close by on the asphalt trail around the lake. If I started screaming, I am sure that help would arrive. Perhaps it was foolish to try to save my shoes, but I really liked them and hated the thought of sacrificing them to the mud bog. With a loud "ZWUP", the shoe came up, now completely full of mud. I threw it to solid ground and then worked on my left leg and shoe. I still could not get my leg out of the muck without my foot coming out of the shoe. So I went ahead and slipped out of the shoe and proceeded to try and dig that shoe out of the bog. It was much harder to retrieve. It was deeper than the previous shoe! But I was successful!
Now, in my stocking feet, covered from head to toe with disgusting black mud, I made my way back up to the original trail I had been on and around to the asphalt trail. The first lady who I met in the opposite direction exclaimed, "what happened to you!" "Don't go off the main trail!" I countered. I made it down to the paved path around the lake and actually walked directly into the lake to rinse off. I still had to walk back 1/2 mile to the parking lot and my car. I got a lot of strange looks from the fishermen and dog walkers around the lake, but I was safe and my shoes were saved! Luckily, my backpack was securely on my back (not just hanging off my shoulder) and my camera, keys and phone were also securely zipped up in the pockets. I didn't get any photos of my embarassment. I was so incredibly dirty, I didn't want to get my camera out. And all I could think of was returning to my car and going home to shower.
More info about how to survive a mud bog or quicksand can be found here
The moral of the story is that ANYTHING can happen on even the most benign trail. So when hiking alone, always follow these guidelines:
Before I got caught in the mud, I had done 1.5 miles around the Lake Loop Trail bringing my hikeathon total up to 47 miles. I will be hiking a couple of miles on the PCT with Ryan when I see him again before the end of the month! His blog is
and we have a webpage on the WTA website
and my individual fund-raising page:
and my individual fund-raising page:
It looks like I can hike 50 miles on my own at home, on my layovers at work and while joining Ryan on the PCT. If you don’t want to donate via credit card on the website, checks can be made out to Washington Trails Association and sent to me at the address below. Thanks so much for any help you can provide! And stay safe out there!!
Amanda Arkebauer, PO Box 16131, Seattle, WA 98116