In early June, I wanted to get one last training hike in before I left town for a business trip. The week following the trip I’d be going on a camping and backpacking trip, so I wouldn’t have time for any more training hikes between the two trips.
Now, I wanted to stay the night at the trailhead and then hike out first thing in the morning, but my husband checked the weather forecast and made the call that we should sleep at home and drive out in the morning. I was a bit disappointed, because I do love sleeping outdoors, but I don’t like getting wet.
So we woke up at 4:30 am, got ready to go, and drove out to the trailhead. When we arrived, it was clear that there had been rain over night. Yes, I admitted to myself, Ambrose was right to pay attention to the forecast.
As we were getting ready to hike out, Ambrose casually mentioned that he had been up since midnight, unable to fall back asleep. I was a bit amazed that he had been able to drive – had I known earlier, I would have offered to drive us out as well as back. So I understood that he was going to go as far as he felt comfortable and no farther.
I honestly didn’t want to go very far myself. It’s the dread of those first two miles that really makes me not want to go very far. And the weather was overcast and threatening to storm, so I gave myself a soft goal of getting to the peak with the hitching posts and barbed wire.
Of course, as soon as I hit that first uphill on the front, I wanted to turn back and take a nap. But I powered through, hoping that if I could make the peak that I could do the whole trip faster than I have before. I also didn’t bring my camera for this one, though I did have a camera in the form of my phone, since I was using my phone to track my distance and time.
I took my first break a little bit after the first mile. I was planning on a snack and break every hour on the hour – or so, and my first mile only took 54 minutes, so I hiked on a bit before stopping for snack break number one. And for snack break number two, I went well past the 2 mile top out. It was at that top out that I began to feel good about being out there.
The sky stayed overcast, but didn’t do anything more than a bit of sprinkling rain now and again. I ran into a hiker coming down and we chatted a bit; she wished she had started a bit later since she ended up turning back before the peak due to the threatening weather. She was going to go and do another hike, maybe Cervidae, since she’d driven all the way out.
I was happy for the clouds, because they kept the temperature comfortably in the 60’s. A bit warm for strenuous hiking, but not as bad as it would be if the sun were to come fully out. I made it to the hitching post hill and knew I wasn’t stopping there. My body really felt good, and I knew I could make it.
At one point, my inReach device chimed; Ambrose was letting me know he was heading back to the car. I didn’t expect to see him again on the trail since I was still heading up to the peak. I’ll admit, a small part of me did a little gleeful dance at the realization that I wouldn’t be doing the cooking at the car. Ambrose would get there first, so he would do it!
I reached the peak around a quarter to eleven, which was less than 4 hours from when I started at seven. Yay! There were four people up there, taking pictures and kind of hanging out there. I took a few pictures for proof and then turned right around to continue my hike. One of them asked if I was already leaving and I replied that it wasn’t break time yet.
When it was breaktime, I finished off my first water bladder and switched to the next one. I think I could do this hike with 3 liters, but 4 provides a nice buffer and a little extra weight for the sake of training. Going down went much faster than coming up, as per usual.
After I finished the steepest climb on the way back (also the steepest descent on the way out), I came upon two hikers and I stepped off the trail. I was sucking wind from the steep trail, and one of them asked if I was okay. I said I was, just that it was super steep. She was not happy to hear that a steep section was coming.
I ran into more and more hikers as I continued to descend, but no dogs, which was a first for me. I also saw several little lizards run across the trail (five in total), so that was cute. When I got down to the final mile, I saw that I had caught up with some people who had passed me earlier. I figured if I really went hard on the last mile, I might catch them, but I decided to be safe instead. I’d rather not get injured on a lark.
But I did end up doing a little running on those last descents, just letting gravity kind of pull me along. My pack jounced, which was a bit uncomfortable, but it was also fun. Especially since I made it back to the car in less than 7 hours, beating my previous time by almost an hour.
As I had hoped, Ambrose had cooked up the chicken and rice. He also had a brilliant idea of pouring water over my head, and I was all for that! It felt so nice to rinse the sweat out of my hair and cool my face a bit. Then I got to sit in the scant shade of the car and eat before I drove us home.
|Not sure what these flowers are, but I was enchanted by them.|
|Threatening clouds sped my steps.|
|Obligatory peak selfie.|
|Nice view from the peak.|
|I didn’t expect so many flowers to be in bloom.|
|I guess May showers brought June flowers this year.|
|And not just flowers – everything was gorgeously verdant.|
|Took a break with a view.|
|My favorite flower.|
|The sun was out by the time I got back to the car.|