"wow that escalated quickly!"
So Four Peaks was on my radar after reading JJ's recent trip log. That led to a causal conversation with John at Boulders on Sunday about why neither one of us have hit that high point, some how that escalated into me knocking out the Mother Lode!
Nothing was really ideal about this Mother Lode trip either. I didn't even leave Boulders until 10, and it was not until about 11:30 p.m. that the idea of the Mother Lode even crossed my mind while searching for driving directions and a route up to Brown's Peak. I thought why not just download a route and play it by ear? But whose route? I knew well enough not to touch anything done by Dave 1, Joe, Bob P, or J.J. ;)
I noticed that Chumley had taken Claire on his last Mother Lode trip so I figured that route was probably more in my wheel house and sadly more conducive to my skill set and conservative nature. After all, I would be going solo. Lets be real though, I upped the ante a tad bit on Chumley's route, found a few more "direct" approaches ;)
Again nothing was ideal about the planning for this little hike, I jotted down on a 3" by 5" note card "4321 classic" "1234 hard" some driving directions on the back and the names of the peaks by number, that was the extent of my planning. However, to be honest at that point I was pretty much reserved to just finally knock out Brown's Peak.
Even when morning hit I was still just committed to Browns Peak, slept in a little, went to the gym and did not even finish up until nearly 6:30, came home ate a quick little breakfast and really did not rush to leave town. In hindsight, could have probably did without the 5 a.m gym run, there were no shortages of opportunities to work other muscles besides the legs on this hike.
Didn't even start hiking until 9! Sacrilege for the last day of June in AZ! However, thanks in part to my usual early morning caffeine buzz, I thought why not? Although, in hindsight it would have probably been prudent to let someone know where and what I was doing before sister's peak, when I finally got the bright idea to at least shoot Chumley a quick text.
I don't know if I always took the right route, but I made it! The hike was awesome, just a nice little test of nerves, strength, stamina etc. It also had a little twist at the end.
I ran into two guys on way back to TH, and their exact first words to me were, "hey, we are a little loss." When I came across them they were down to one water source between the two of them and measuring shadows in an attempt to determine the cardinal directions. They had violated a very basic rule that whenever I bring up people scoff and laugh at me. A map is nearly useless for the most part if you can not identify any of your cardinal directions, last I check paper maps do not orient their self. I don't want to make light of their situation, but they were close to the TH. However, they were preparing to head back to the fork heading towards Amethyst Mine, as they were sure that is where they went wrong. I told them, "look you two are grown men, so I wont lecture you, but I am going to hike probably a 1000 miles this year, and you will never catch me out hiking without at the very least my compass and GPS and preferably a map if possible." They totally got it and were relieved to join me for final stretch back to TH. Although, a comical situation to most of us, this is how tragedies happen, so if I don't show up, these two guys with about 20 oz of water would have hiked all the way back to the mining area, probably turned around again and who knows what may have happened from there. When we got to the car they told me their goal was to knock out at least three of the peaks, to give a perspective they started ten minutes after me and did Brown's Peak plus about 300 feet towards his brother before they wisely backed off. In fact, the one guy said, "hey did you find you had to climb to hit all those peaks today, because we were climbing!?" I replied, "a little" ;)
After Action Review (AAR):
One thing I did well: Route finding, I don't remember ever having to back track, although, when I post my route it may say different.
One thing I need to improve on: Communication! probably does not hurt to let someone know where I am at for these type of hikes.
One thing I can sustain: Pace was solid, granted I had a route as guide, but was still able to knock out the Mother Lode in under seven hours, seems respectable from the trip logs I read.
Consumed before hike: 1 scoop of NO Explode, 1 NOS Energy drink and a bowl of Kix, Just a little 600mg caffeine buzz to start your day.
Consumed During hike: 80 oz of water, 20 oz of Gatorade, two Fig Newtons, a Rice Crispy Treat and three peanut butter crackers, no time to eat when you are climbing all day.
Final Notes: I always have a soundtrack in my head for my hikes, usually a song I am too embarrassed to admit was stuck in my head, and I silently and even aloud sometimes usually recite the one chorus I know over and over, Well for this hike that song was "Mother" by Danzig, I thought very appropriate.
Just a great way to end my most productive month of hiking as a HAZ member, from Grand Canyon to the top of Humphreys, Bear Wallow, Blue Range, Pacheta, some peaks and high points around Prescott and a nice little grand finale..The Mother Lode.
HAZ Appreciation:Thank you Janelle for route, Chumley said you can thank Janelle for that route, so thank you.