Because I love backpacking, I was determined once again to wake up early last Sunday morning and go on a hike.
Because I love my husband, I came up with a scheme to get us home reasonably early on that day (for some reason, it was important to him to be home for most of the day with the television on).
And so, I decided that I would hike 2 hours up towards Lucky Peak. At that point, I would turn back and Ambrose would turn back when I caught him. I didn’t think that I could hike all the way to the peak in just two hours. I mean, sure, it’s less than 5.5 miles, but it’s also over 2800 feet up.
My first mile was under 24 minutes, but I knew that pace wouldn’t last. The next mile took 28 minutes (and included a pit stop). Although that wasn’t too bad of a pace, it was also not the steepest part of the trail.
So I gave myself a new goal. 4 miles in 2 hours. I could do that. I was sure of it. All I had to do was keep my miles under 30 minutes and I’d be golden.
The wind was blowing fiercely down the trail, chilling my face and adding difficulty to my hike. I’d added an extra 5 pounds to my pack, like you do, and it seemed like the third mile would never be finished.
I saw the sun rise over the mountains, pinking the horizon and gilding the low hanging clouds.
I couldn’t believe it when I heard the announcement from my phone of the split pace.
I will not get less than 4 miles. I will blaze up this trail and make my 4 miles.
The trail was no less steep, the wind no less blustery, but I had found a new fount of determination. I hiked like I was being chased. And when I saw the tower atop Lucky Peak, I had a wild thought that I could actually climb the peak in 2 hours or less.
Not that day. I made my 4 miles and had 7 more minutes to hike out, but that wasn’t enough to bring me to the peak. I turned around at 4.3 miles.
1.1 miles down, I found Ambrose. After I passed him, I was conscious that he was behind me, and determined not to be caught. He used to be faster going downhill than me, but I am much better at the downhills now. So I was shocked when I turned and saw him rather close behind me, not once, but twice. At that point, I decided I had to focus forward to beat him and I didn’t look back again.
I passed two runners, a hiking couple that looked very unhappy, and two woman with one man and four dogs all heading out. I stood aside when the trail was narrow and got barked at by some dogs while their owner assured me that “they only bark.” I wasn’t super worried – I had pepper spray if they attacked.
I only beat Ambrose out to the car by about 15 minutes, which surprised me until he told me that he had been jogging down behind me until about the last mile and a half. Cheater!
I’ll be doing this time trial again, as a gauge of my progress. It’s not a long trail, but the elevation gain makes it a good training tool.