Friday, February 18, 2011

Tough Decisions

Rather than write a blog post, I'm supposed to be packing for a winter camping trip at the moment. A group of us from the Saskatoon Snowshoe Club are to be leaving Saskatoon for Prince Albert National Park in the morning. However, I've had a cold for the last few days and things are not currently getting any better. Late this morning, about 19 hours before Bob & Jeff were to meet at my house to pick me up, I finally concluded that I could not go and made the decision to back out of the snowshoe trip.

It really sucks to back out of a trip like this. It's not just that I really want to go (despite the -34°C overnight low that is forecast), but the feeling of letting others down. In a group like this some of the gear is shared. My pulling out now means that Mike no longer has a place to sleep. Of course he can borrow my tent and stove, but it's really too much for one person to haul in (3 is ideal, 4 will fit and for 2 it's a palace). So, I called one of the other people on the trip and suggested that he and his tent partner join Mike in my hot tent. However, I hardly had the words out of my mouth that I was pulling out before he was telling me that his tent partner was sick and if I was pulling out, she would be too and therefore he wouldn't go either. So, our group of 7 quickly diminished to 4. A phone call to Mark later and now he's out too. That leaves 3, maybe.

So, now I feel responsible for starting the cascade that has essentially killed this trip. But, the more I think about it, the more I know it was a decision I had to make and the correct decision was made.

Had I gone, I might have been on the upswing by then and could have had a great time. However, it seems just as likely that my energy would be low and I'd be dragging my ass to keep up with the group and pull my own weight (not to mention that 100+ pounds on the sled behind me). It also becomes a safety issue. When you are fatigued you are prone to bad decisions. When fatigued due to sickness that effect is likely worse. Also, because I am with a group, my bad decisions may not only affect myself, but also the rest of the group. Another concern I had was the cold weather (did I mention -34°C was forecast?) and the potential effect my sickness might have on my ability to thermoregulate and combat the cold. I don't presently have a fever or the chills, but if that were to set in, I'd rather be at home than in a tent.

Anyway, I could go on listing various scenarios and discussing the repercussions of a decision to go despite a head full of mucus, but I think I'll go make myself a hot toddie instead.