Unlike last week’s, this week’s training hike up Lucky Peak was not as difficult, mentally speaking. I was in a much better headspace and not feeling like I wanted to just sit down and nap.
The only problem wasn’t really my problem – Ambrose had forgotten to bring his backpack to the trailhead. I told him he should just go back for it since we don’t live that far from the trailhead, but he decided to just do a shorter hike.
|Cloudy morning, but no rain.
I might have felt a bit of resentment that he was going to be hiking with no pack while I hauled 32+ pounds of gear and water up to the peak and back, but I’ve got a bigger hiking plan for this summer than he does.
I did want him to get a full five miles though so when he suggested turning back at the t-junction, I said he should go a bit past that to get to 2.5. I even marked the spot when I got there for him! But I didn’t tell him I was going to do that…
At any rate, I did have to stop to make some pack adjustments and take a nature break pretty early on in my hike – early enough that Ambrose caught up to me, even though he’d been delayed at the car with having to change from shoes to boots. That was a little discouraging for me, because I’d thought my pace was better than that. So although I did ask Ambrose for some help when I accidentally pushed my fanny pack clip into the wrong hole, I also didn’t linger to chat with him and instead set off with a renewed focus of getting far, far ahead of him.
The weather was a bit chillier than before, windier as I climbed higher. I figured the wind was why I didn’t see anyone using the archery range this time. The sun was rising directly behind a band of clouds that I really hoped didn’t mean rain. Ambrose didn’t think it was going to rain, but those clouds looked like they wanted to.
I didn’t see very many people as I continued to hike on the road. I checked the distance at the t-junction and it was only about 2.3 miles, not the 2.5 that Ambrose wanted to hike. I kept an eye on the distance until it hit 2.5 and made some marks in the road – but I found out later that he turned around at the t-junction. Tut tut.
I hiked up the steep part of the road on either end of Hornet Loop feeling colder with just about every step. I took a break at the top of that section and got out my rain jacket and gloves – I might be hiking with mostly junk weight in the pack, but I wouldn’t do this hike without the essential gear. I did think that some of the road ahead would block the wind, but not before I hiked a lot more exposed area.
Putting on the jacket and gloves was a great idea. The wind just kept picking up as I hiked to the top. Windier and windier, colder and colder – but hey, no rain!
I made it to the bathroom and used it, even though the cold wind numbed me from the inside. The peak itself was cold and windy enough to discourage lingering, but I did take some photos and short videos (I’m collecting virtual backgrounds for Zoom meetings). As I left the peak, a group of women hiked up and I was quite happy to see them since the week before had seemed to lack for women on the trail.
|My favorite flower, just below the peak.
|The views are still good, but harder to capture in a photo without some sunshine.
On the way down, I noticed near the top of Hornet that I could hear women behind me. I looked back and saw them about a half mile back. I did not want to be caught, but I did talk to myself about not feeling bad for being passed by people carrying day packs. After all, they weren’t carrying 20% of their body weight, and I was. But I also picked up my pace.
And then I started singing out loud, and either I scared them back with the power of song, or they realized they couldn’t catch me and gave up. I didn’t look back again until I had nearly reached the archery range, and I didn’t see or hear them after I started singing. The singing definitely helped me keep pace, so I kept it up as I continued on to the trailhead.
I passed one small group on the archery range; they politely stepped off to the side as I hiked by. I kept waiting for my phone app to announce mile 10; I wasn’t absolutely sure I was going to hit a full 11 miles, because it’s a little less than 5.5 miles from bottom to top. It remained stubbornly silent, so I just assumed I had either missed the announcement or I skipped a mile somewhere.
About a quarter mile from the trailhead there’s a trail junction; just as I approached it, a woman came out from the other trail. I followed her at a socially distant 10 feet or so, slowing my own pace since she was going at a reasonable rate. No need to pass at this point, so close to my destination when I can be patient. But she ended up stopping so I reached the gate first and opened it, asking her if she was okay with closing it (she was).
In the parking lot, she struck up a conversation with me, asking if I was training for anything. I told her what I was training for and we chatted a bit. I kicked myself later for not telling her about this blog, but maybe next time I’ll remember that part.
I checked my phone to find that the battery had died – it turned out to be an issue with the storage; once I did some archiving it behaved.