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.

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