I knew this was going to be an out of the ordinary adventure! 24 hours of chaos...julia style. A hike up a worthy peak nearly 600 miles from home with someone I had never met. Now that's pretty darn cool! It was my 4th time up Hermit's, but this time was by far the toughest for a number of reasons. We literally did it by driving over there with virtually no sleep (after already being up since Friday morning), then we hit the trail at midday when it was quite warm, even at 8000 feet. I had to take more breaks on the way up than I like, but having an understanding hiking partner really helped! Finally when we reached the wide summit area, the clouds started getting serious and some welcome cool breezes kicked in. Took a nice break on top, then checked out the hermit's cave a couple hundred feet down from the rim. Got some parting photos of the great vistas to the east, then down the mountain we went with occasional thunder in the distance. We kept a strong pace back to the cars, but were very tired. I felt sorry for Liz, because she still had to drive on through the night to get to her destination, while I could just crash and burn right there at the campground by the trailhead. When it comes to running on empty, nobody does it better than Liz!
We said our goodbyes and she was on her way to Colorado. I was so tired that I blew off a trip back to town to recharge my ice chest, and just barely had enough energy to set up my tent and drink beer, which is unheard of.
As I relaxed in camp with darkness setting in, I was happily reflecting on the amazing day it had been. But wait, what was that? There it is again. Fireflies! Truly the perfect ending. I sat there for about 2 hours in the dark watching hundreds of them put on a light show. Wow! Took me back to childhood days in Wisconsin.
This hike almost didn't happen because the lightning sparked Tecolote Fire burning nearby had resulted in the area being placed in an emergency closure. But we got lucky, as heavy rains hit the area 2 days earlier and laid the fire down enough for it to be reopened the day before we hiked!
This is one of my favorite places to visit. Beautiful scenery, a great old town with many historic buildings, fine campground, and a dramatic mountain sitting on the edge of the plains to the east.
It was a pleasure meeting and hiking with you Liz. I'm glad you liked the idea and that we were able to fit it in to your overall trip plan. I look forward to hiking again with you, maybe down in southern Arizona. (glad you liked the CD too!)