I'll be honest, I was a little nervous. I hadn't hiked up past 9,000+ feet in a handful of years. It's not a forgiving altitude for those who live down in Southern California and are only accustom to beach air. But that Wednesday morning, at 6:09am precisely, we headed the 47 miles to the trailhead to take Mother Nature head on.
Nay to it being 38 degrees at the trailhead.
Yay to there being Forest Service-maintained restrooms at the trailhead.
Nay to the Sheriff not having Purel in his car.
Yay to the Sheriff having baby wipes instead.
The first 3 miles were cake. The trail was well groomed. We were the first ones on the path. Plus we were warming up since we didn't expect the temperature to be so low! And we were holding 25:00/miles (yes, this sounds slow, but trust us...we were zooming). The board said this hike was about a 4 hour trek upwards, and with our great time, we assumed we'd be summit'd in less than 3 hours.
Enter that nasty elevation...where breathing through a straw sounds like a better idea.
So naturally I needed a picture with it. Yes, that's a half marathon technical shirt I'm wearing from my PR effort in June. It's all I had to wear that wouldn't be cotton for this mission. Sorry, fashion folks. I'll do better next time?
The rocks you see is literally how the last 2 miles are...rocky and difficult. The next day my back was sore from having to mountaineer up and down these things.