PHOTO: JUSTIN from AUSTIN (marmot whisperer and finder of the lake)
Eight hours, 3700+ feet of elevation gain, one ankle rollover with near fall(I saved it.), 12,600 top elevation with a whopping 2.4mph average speed. Now, does anyone know where I can get a new hip? Cheap, even something plastic? Message me if you have any contacts. I’d done this hike before, and will do it again, but what I’ve learned is that each hike of this nature is a unique beast. Weather, temperature, companionship, mental state, timeline, smoke from fires, etc. A puzzle waiting to be solved by sweat and luck.
This was the first time I carried a camera on a hike like this, and the first time I tested out my new Atlas Athlete pack, which was stellar. More than I needed on this hike, but a good test none the less. I carried the camera around my neck the entire day, and the pack has a chest strap that kept the camera from flopping around. The weather was perfect. Much warmer than last year, and much less wind. I summited-too strong a word for a 12,000 foot hike-but quickly stripped down to my leopard thong…… Just kidding, wanted to see if you were still paying attention. I stripped down to my t-shirt and was comfortable. Lots of smoke in the air early on, but it cleared out and the views stretched one hundred miles. Pecos Wilderness, Truchas Baldy, the Jemez, Albuquerque, etc. There were also far fewer hikers this year than last. Not sure why. The only danger came when we were surrounded by a pack of ravenous chipmunks who felt the need to descend on our packs. I shined the sun off the blade of my pocketknife and they slowed backed away.
On a serious note. Get out there. Don’t wait. If a hike like this seems to much then just go sit at the trailhead, or hike for 30 minutes, or go read at the base. These places are in danger, so now is the time.