Well...yesterday was the total antithesis to the previous "Perfect" climb. I hated almost every minute of yesterday's climb but i completed it anyway. And that, at least, is something to be proud of. (Gee, what a whiny, negative way to begin a blog..LOL!)
It's not really the climb's fault, I started off resenting it to begin with because I had gotten a good chunk of it done yesterday when I realized I had lost my cellphone on the trail and had to turn back to search for it. I HATE not completing anything once I've decided to do it and so returned to finish the hike today. So...it was a bit doomed from the start. I was still sore from yesterday's TWO hikes. And this was an obligatory hike.
I took off from the trailhead, making sure my phone was in a secured, zippered pocket this time. The trail starts off with rolling hills from blueberry bushes. I noted that they were starting to appear and made note to make occasional noise lest I come upon bears.
After the berry patch the trail began a steep ascent. My calf muscles began to protest. They had not yet recovered from the day before. A young man with a very large pack quickly caught up to me and hiked with me for awhile. HIs chatting was a nice diversion from the increasingly difficult trail. He was heading to the first ridge to do some hang-gliding. This pack while big and bulky was light and contained his parasail kit. After about 10 minutes of his company, he took off for a low ridge where his instructor waited and I continued on.
The spot of color in the photo is him hang-gliding below me
It became necessary to occasionally grab for a handhold.. There were no trees as the trailhead is way above the tree line so it became a matter of searching for a rock above me to get a handhold. I was no where near the top and became very concerned about how technical this climb night become. The rating guide indicated that it was not a technical climb. Was it just me? Was i that out of shape? I began to doubt my ability to complete the climb.
After scrambling over a rock outcropping, the climb began to feel very iffy to me. I was on all fours and often could not see far enough in front of me to tell if I was climbing myself into a place where I couldn't continue. My heart rate was booming and when I needed to rest, I had to turn around and sit right in the trail. It was so steep and the trail so eroded that I would start to slide down it. I actually became scared when I thought about trying to get down safely.
I was shocked that I still had cell service. I sent several friends, my husband and my two sons a note asking them to pray for me, that I would have the courage to finish. As miserable as I was, I didn't want to quit. I got the sweetest text back from my son:
You can do it mom. You're a badass. I've never known someone so determined. Man up I believe in you. I love you. Go!
I put an encouraging song to play on my cell phone and decided I would climb 25 more steps and then decide. I did so and then committed to another 25. After about 4or 5 such decisions, the trail eased enough that I could see the top. I was only about 200 feet away. I decided to finish.
With my phone replaying my "you can do this" song over and over and knowing my sons and husband were praying for me, I reached the top to find (as I suspected it would be) that it was only the first peak and that the very top was still probably 20 minutes away. I continued the ridge walk for a couple hundred yards when my leg muscles began to tremble badly.The previous day's hike had caught up with me. I knew from my marathon training days that I was done. I was very disappointed. But I decided to play a mental trick on myself and count the first peak as my finish rather than consider the hike uncompleted. I knew it was the only way I'd find peace with this hike. It had not been a fun hike in any way at all. Because I had done it primarily on all fours, there had been no enjoyment of the view on the way up. I had been too focused on simply a safe ascent and finding the right path and handholds. It was a "survival" hike and as such, there had been no real pleasure in the process. I decided to take what victory I could and release my need to climb until there was no more trail to be conquered.
I took a few minutes to take photos and enjoy the view.
But I still had to return to my car safely and my husband would be arriving home after two weeks away in three hours and I would definitely be needing a shower to look my best for him. And home was still a 40 minute drive. I had two hours and 20 minutes to get back to the car. I ended up having to do a good portion of the descent on my butt! All those 7th grade PE crab walk drills finally paid off! LOL!
By the time I got back to the walk-able portion of the trail, my legs were jello. I was VERY grateful to see the car. I would not be doing this climb again. Not even for the satisfaction of reaching the final summit. I had pushed past my discouragement, fear and even exceeded my climbing skill levels. Probably to the point of being stupid. But it was done and I drove away feeling both angry and relieved.
Oh well...they can't all be wonderful hikes.
Nite dear spark friends!