Kelly finally got to take another hike off of her Wish List. It really wasn't on my list except that Wendy and Ambika thot it should be so that's kind of how Kelly roped me into this one. The only issue though is Ambika and Wendy were both out of town; go figure. But I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to go up the Peak with John who was doing his fifth summit. I feel quite comfortable with them both when it comes to this climbing/scrambling stuff.
We met at Wendy's and survived the 19 mile drive (I had last done it in 2001 or 2002). I do remember the drive as being quite scenic and it did live up to that mantra. As we were gearing up, we all commented how warm it already was so we were glad we did have some tree cover for the first mile or so. When I was up here last, the wind was blowing, it was overcast and it was cold. Not the case today. However, we did run into some folks carrying guns. One fellow had a very big gun
so Kelly was on her best behavior
until we were out of gun shot.
Of course, you immediately head UP the trail and you slowly ascend coming out of the shade of the pine trees. Along the way you encounter some unusual rock and tree formations and there was nice healthy lupine and western wallflowers scattered about. We occasionally ran into some little critters too.
My legs were heavy this day, it just has to be this doggone altitude. It's frustrating
. I whined some about it while we continued this two mile trek to the Saddle. Fortunately, Kelly and John would stop to admire the view so I could catch up, get a pic and continue on. When I got to the saddle and looked at what we had to do I seriously considered just staying here and filming them when I could. Kelly and John convinced me the trek ahead looks steeper and longer than it probably is. Yep, I bit
We snapped some pics, John showed us where the Amethyst Trail started and the route for the Mother Lode. And then it was up we went to the smattering of pine trees to just below the notch where you get to do a little scrambling before the real fun begins. I kept thinking in my mind, before we got to the pine trees, "this hike wasn't on my Wishlist, I can just hang here
" but then I thot, "you came this far, don't quit now
". John and Kelly offered their support once again so I continued on as I do like climbing and scrambling and it was only 1/4 mile, STRAIGHT UP
Kelly took the lead as she likes to route find. She did a couple sections
that I chose Plan B. I was surprised how sensitive the rocks were as they would tumble at the slightest touch. However, we were all mindful of this as we made our way up the Chute. Before you know it, we were at the window where you could see the rest of the peaks
. I went thru the window but John says, uh Angela, "yes John
", we need to go up this way unless you're doing the Motherlode. Oops. So up, up we went again and this time, before you know it for real, we have summited. We enjoyed our lunch and the views for about 1/2 hr. There was also a plane that flew around us so I got a couple pics of it. A squirrel kept trying to get in Kelly's pack to no avail. We took a group picture which we failed to do on Battleship.
And now the real challenge begins, getting down this beast. It seemed Kelly and I went our way and John tried a more difficult route but we all ended up in the same place eventually. When we were almost to the notch I look up to get a pic of John as he is holding on to two trees branches for balance. He says, "Angela I have a dilemma
". And within moments we hear rocks tumbling down
not sure how far they were going to roll (from another hiker who was heading up).... John's dilemma was no more as he quickly moved his feet to start coming down the rest of the Chute. It was a temporary scary moment that we would soon be laughing at off and on for the rest of the day.
We took the round about route to the top of the notch and headed down the rest of the scramble. John, per usual, found a little different route and we soon met up near the bottom of the multi-pine tree section. Kelly was practically at the saddle by this time. As we near the bottom of the hill we see two guys walking up in their nice white tees. I immediately recognize Johnlp and soon recognize JuanJaimieiii. We exchange greetings. I know I looked a bit frightful as my new mascara was mostly on my eyelids (hopefully the boys didn't notice
). All I could think though, I gotta get a pic of the 3 HAZ Johns (and then I thot, maybe that wasn't a good way to phrase that
) with Brown's Peak behind them. They had just completed Derrick/Horton.
Well that was fun and I'm sure they would romp up and down
that Chute like it was nothing. That would indeed be the case as they would soon pass us on the road. We continued on the trail back to the TH taking in some more of the views as we went. I got a pic of that cool lizard Kelly had seen earlier so I was thrilled. Soon we would hear a screech and then John spotted two hawks. I got a pic of one but from quite a distance. It was soon thereafter that near disaster would strike
My forehead/eye had a one on one introduction with a flat rock on the trail
. I wasn't filming or taking pics... just walking when all of a sudden I saw my eye heading toward a rock. I am thanking my lucky stars for a couple reasons: first that the rock I hit was flat and that I had my front-carry camera case that broke the fall. It's probably the worst fall I've taken since I started hiking. I was quite frightened and when John came upon me I'm not even sure what I said. I remember he said there wasn't a cut so that was good. My forehead began to immediately swell up. I knew I would probably have one heck of a headache so I immediately took two aspirin.
Fortunately, we only had 3/4 of mile to go and I knew I had an ice pack in the car keeping a beer and root beer cold. I picked up the pace and found Kelly waiting around a corner. I told her what happened and she said she didn't hear a thing. So perhaps the answers to the age old question, "when a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound"
. We finally came to that patch of western wildflowers I had seen on the way up and I took a pic even though my mind was totally elsewhere at this point.
We got to the vehicle and I grabbed the ice pack. It felt really good on my forehead. My eyebrow seemed like it had changed positions and now instead of being arched was flat plus I could see the mascara that had been sticking to my eyelid. Needless to say, I'm throwing that so-called waterproof mascara out. Sheesh! We de-geared, had our beers and headed on down the road.
I pulled off to the viewpoint overlook of Roosevelt to get a pic before we continued only to have J&J on my tail. I let him by me at the junction while we all sat back and enjoyed our bumpy, curvy and scenic ride to the pavement. I stopped a few more times along the way to get some photos. We finally arrived back at Wendy's safe and sound. Kelly offered to buy dinner . In spite of my hiking wounds, it sounded good to me. She even shared some of her fries (very good as they still have some of the skin on them).
Other than my dragging on the way up until the scrambling and the wipe out, it was a great to hike this hike with John and Kelly!