First, thanks to all here. I so appreciate the supportive comments. It's a tough thing, realizing that you invest all this time, training, family sacrifice, into what is on the surface, a good PR activity, but in the backcountry, this incredible personal wilderness experience, only to have it cut short.
I thought the bush plane ride out was a smart decision.
Yes, I thought about sending Roman and Jason on and either turning around and walking to the Red Dog Mine, or to Point Hope, or even back to Kivalina. They could have continued the trek as planned, I had plenty of food to make my way to a village and a more...(graceful?)...self-supported exit.
But the reality is that I wasn't interested in doing this alone. The risk was within my own comfort level, but not within the comfort level of the collective whole as a team. We had one sat phone, one can of bear spray. We did not want to split that up. And we have to consider that the "team" here does not include only Roman, Jason, and myself, but also my wife, my son, Roman's wife and kids, Jason's SO, parents, the list goes on. To have made the trek without considering their influence, and where they'd sit in the event of a catastrophic failure, would be more self-aggrandizing and narcissitic than anything remotely motivating PR, the website, the blog, etc.
Bottom line: I bail, the team continues the journey in the safest possible manner for all of us. I'm ok with that. It sucks, yes, but I'm ok with it.
I never considered how dangerous a sprained ankle would be in the context of where we were, which was a long way from nowhere. If I did exit solo, I would have considered resting it for three to five days, then hiked about 10-15 miles a day back to the Red Dog mine. In retrospect, that was doable. While out there, I didn't realize how bad my ankle was, until late day 8.
Anyway, I learned a lot, saw some beautiful places, enjoyed fantastic company, used some great new gear that will be coming out this fall, and get to look at maps for next time...:)
More soon, for sure.