Lujan Creek(1034.6) to S. of Windy Peak(1060.4)
Total Miles: 1034.4
Elevation: 10,700 feet
This is going to be a short post, mainly because I don’t have much to say about today. I was planning on getting another early start this morning, but I was pretty groggy when I woke up. I hit the snooze button in my alarm several times. I think it was around 6:15 or 6:30 when I finally left camp. I had a 1,300 foot climb to start my morning off. I was excited to knock it out because I heard that there was cell phone service at the top. It took me just under an hour to hike 2.6 miles to the top. That is a little bit off of my normal pace. My legs are pretty tired after the big day yesterday. Once I made it up the climb I got my blog posted and more importantly called my dad to wish him a Happy Fathers Day. I’ve been pretty lucky while hiking these long distance trails. I don’t think I’ve failed to call home for a single mother’s or Father’s Day yet. Hannibal and I talked for almost twenty minutes. My dad is pretty awesome. He is a great executive assistant, brilliant problem solver, wonderful husband, patient teacher, a fantastic sounding board, and a true role model. Thanks for being my dad! Eventually I had to get going because I was getting cold and still had a lot of miles to hike.
Start of the climb
The day started off really well. I hiked through a nice aspen and pine forest. The climb was very well graded too. In fact I hiked through forest for almost the entire day. Unfortunately, it also rained for almost the entire day. The weather system that was supposed to make yesterday miserable was a day late. It began to ran shortly after 9:30. At first it was an annoying light drizzle, but things quickly escalated. It went from a light drizzle to sleet and hail, before finally settling into a down pour. Today I was at a much higher elevation and hiking on proper trail instead of dirt roads. The weather really made for a tough demoralizing day. Unlike yesterday, I was cold for most of the day. There was never a moment were I had to take layers off. I also had over a vertical mile of elevation gain. Climbing mountains repeatedly in bad weather is never fun. It was definitely a keep your head down and keep moving kind of day.
I listened to a new podcast about the Slave Wars of the Roman Republic. I really enjoy the host of History on Fire, Daniele Bolelli. I particularly like his Italian accent. There is just something soothing about it. I also listened to a TED talk about a disabled female triathlete named Minda Dentler. She was the first female wheelchair athlete to finish at the Kona World Championship. Her story was very inspirational. At one point she said, “The only things that I could control were my effort and attitude.” That quite especially resonated with me. So many things, like the weather today, are out of my control. I need to remember to focus on the things that I can control.
Rain makes the flowers grow
I probably could have hiked another 5 miles today, but I stopped early. I was getting really cold and wet and I know that is a bad combination for me. If I let myself get too cold it takes me forever to warm back up. I was already having problems with my dexterity from hours spent in the rain. I was worried about getting my tent setup. The trail was also getting ready to go over 11,000 feet and I didn’t want to camp that high. It took me an extra mile or two once I decided to stop for the night before I found a spot to camp. The entire side of the mountain I was on was covered with downed trees. I didn’t relish the thought of camping in a forest with tons of beetle kill. It was windy enough that a tree could come down on me. On a positive note, the Appalachian Trail really thought me how to setup in the rain. I quickly set my tent up and then I stripped off all of my wet layers before getting inside. I was able to setup my sleeping pad and everything else from the shelter of my tent. I put on my leggings for only the third time of this hike. I felt one million times better once I had changed. I got into my sleeping bag and cooked dinner. Cooking in my tent is never very comfortable, but it was better than doing it out in the rain. I ran into a few guys on mountain bikes today. They said the weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow. I sure hope that they are right.
Crossing a wet meadow
Windy Peak is to the right
Forest of hell. Most of the trees were already down, or standing dead
"No parent is perfect; we all can look back and think of things we could've done to help our children be better prepared for adulthood. And sometimes it's best to admit it to them and encourage them to learn from our mistakes." - Billy Graham