The lingering foot injury of 2011 appeared to be back on its way, so I wasn't entirely sure how this one would go. Hit the trailhead around 7:20am and was met with the lovely omen of unknowingly parking 5ft away from a dead dog.
The first bit of the trail was okay. The views were good enough, but the trail itself was nothing special. It was more than made up for as soon as I could see the rugged cliffs in Black Canyon. The trail from here to the 200ft descent was scenic, and after the drop, I was met with the flowing creek. I think that's the first time I've hiked along moving surface water. Definitely need more of that.
I loved the trees along Gaddes, despite some deadfall. Surprisingly had cell reception at one point. The wind started to pick up on this section. Wound up off trail once, but Joe's track got me back on the move without wasting too much time. I started wondering when the climb to top of the mesa would begin, so the trail dragged on for a little bit.
The fire lookout was closed, and I couldn't even get close unless I crossed the fence, so no benchmark this time. There are still some large patches of snow at the top. I stopped at one of the picnic tables for lunch and some killer views. There were two people climbing up the switchbacks on 106. They were the only people I saw all day. Just the way I like it!
Coleman was also a cool trail, in my opinion. I liked how the trees thinned out as the edge of the mesa got closer. The vegetation is closing in on a couple spots along the switchbacks. This is where the weather started to warm up. Back on Black Canyon, the trees worked with the wispy clouds and dampened most of the sun. Even after the trees were out of the picture, the clouds stood by as I came to my last liter of water. With 5 or so miles to go, I kicked up the pace and made it back to the car shortly after 4.
Excited to finally crack 5,000AEG!