The alarm sounded entirely too early on Sunday morning, even though it wasn't that early. I rolled out of bed in the dark, legs and feet protesting a bit from the tromping of a 12-hour Saturday. Fortunately, I had thought enough ahead to set the timer on the coffee machine, and the rich aroma of Espresso Roast permeated my apartment. By 0630 I was on the road south through B-town, headed back to Kearsarge to meet up with the gang .
Rachel was back in town after working for the past few months, so she and I talked about getting out on Sunday to play a bit. Mt. Gould was centrally located for both of us, so she drove up with Tom and Nate, and Gordon met us at Onion Valley as well. An added bonus was an attempt to meet some of the Sierra Challenge gang as they ran back from Bago, hopefully with a report of a successfull treasure hunt to recover the package I had left them. Around 0840 we finally hit the trail, already hot in the sun, and Rachel commenting, "Don't you just love how these east-side trails are so flat and shady??"
My legs protested a bit, taking longer than I wanted to warm up, so I pulled over to allow the boys to pass, Rachel taking the lead up front. I earned my spot at the rear of the group that day, and I was happy to amble up the trail at a pace that kept my breathing to a low roar. I suppose there aren't many who would consider a 4000 vf day a 'light leg stretch'. OK, who am I kidding: I was bloody tired, and my legs and breath were letting me know it. So I made sure to take pictures, drink water, eat, and basically do whatever I needed to do to keep working and heading up. The group hung together well, stopping briefly at Little Pothole Lake, the turnoff to Matlock Lake for watering-up and head-soaking, then briefly below the final stroll to the Pass. The trail was full of people going both directions, and a few clouds lazed overhead, neither building nor threatening as the sun passed in and out. A stiff breeze kept us cool as we scrambled up the south ridge to the summit, each choosing his or her own path to just below the final ridgeline. I stayed as much in the rocks as possible to avoid the loose scree just off to the right, but use trails abounded here. We had a bit of a line-up for the summit blocks, and only Tom decided to pull himself up on the tip-top.
I gave a shout out to Bago, while Rachel checked through binocs if anyone was still there. No luck, which made sense since apparently they had summited around 0945 or so. Even with champagne, I wouldn't think they'd hang out there too long! The five of us picked our way back across the chutes below the ridge, then started the fun run down the use trails of scree to just east of Kearsarge Pass. The rest of the descent was a stride-out down the trail, stopping for water once again, and admiring the shifting light on granite walls in all directions. It was grand to have the gang gathered at the TOF at the end of a nice day.
A few other moments from the day:
From the luckiest girl in the world: Climb Hard. Be Safe.
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2 posts • Page 1 of 1
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