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  • Eric Kampmann

Guyot Shelter

See Psalm 147:15–18

The day was cold and the snow deep. We were attempting to get to West Bond, one of the four-thousand-footers located deep within the Pemigawasset Wilderness in New Hampshire. Our progress had slowed to a crawl as we broke trail through four feet of snow pack.

Eventually, we got to the summit of Guyot Mountain, but by then it was dark. The wind was blowing across the ridge, and snow was swirling all around us. Guyot Shelter was somewhere out there, but finding it presented a challenge. Because the mountain was so isolated, there was no discernable path, no footprints to follow. No one had been in these parts for weeks.

We couldn’t stay on the ridge, and as I had been in this location in milder times, I decided to leave my companions behind to scout for Guyot Shelter. I knew enough about the terrain not to become hopelessly lost. After probing and hunting for an hour, I found a trail sign that pointed the way down to the elusive shelter. I found my companions where I had left them and together we returned to the path to the shelter. The trail down was steep and covered in deep snow. I was hoping the shelter would soon come into view but that never happened. It probably was buried under the snow and because it was late and the search seemed fruitless, we built a snow platform on the side of the mountain and bivouacked for the rest of the night. In the light of the next morning we were able to find the log shelter buried under a mountain of snow, except for the front. We ate breakfast there and then headed back toward the comforts of civilization. We were relieved to have escaped unscathed from our foolish adventure into isolation and danger. Yet all along I felt safe and protected. Despite the extreme environment, difficult terrain, and uncomfortable night, I never experienced fear. As the “guide” on this trip, I felt guided.

—Eric Kampmann, Signposts

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