Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mt. Raymond attempt 3

Today I went on a hike up Mt. Raymond with my brother, Mike. I made the decision to go to Mt. Raymond, since I thought it would not have as much snow on it as it has on one of my previous trips when I didn't make it to the top. And, Mike left it up to me to choose.

Here's a pic of Mike, btw, on the trail:
I should've thought that maybe a little snow had accumulated up top during the previous wet, rainy week down in the valley, but I was unprepared for the amount that had accumulated.

The trail was beautiful, however, if a tad muddy. Here's some of the scenery we saw along the way:

When we got up to the saddle between Gobblers Knob and Mt. Raymond, Mike decided that he'd had enough because of a hip injury that had been plaguing him. He volunteered to wait for me if I wanted to make it the rest of the way up. I wanted to try it and did so. The ridge going up to the top starts out wide, then narrows down, becoming knife-edged near the top. The further up I got, the more snow there was. Another guy and his two teenaged sons were ahead of me on the trail, and were the only ones who had apparently been up there since the snow had fallen. I saw no other tracks. I followed in their footsteps. There were places where my legs sunk through the soft snow all the way up to my hips. Here's one of the foot prints that went down a ways:
I passed one of the youngsters on the trail who was having a hard time as he was wearing shorts. Eventually, I caught the dad and other son. At that point I was .1 miles from the top (as the crow flies), and approximately 200 feet in elevation from the top. It had already taken me an hour and fifteen minutes to get to the point I was at, and it looked like it would take at least another half hour to make those final 200 feet--if I could even make it. The angle significantly steepened, the snow looked quite a bit deeper, and the ridge narrowed a lot. I don't have an actual picture of this final approach, and down below, it didn't look that bad. Here's what it looked like from about 400 feet from the top:
This is actually the third time I've gone up Mt. Raymond and have had to stop short of the top. I will plan my next trip carefully to incorporate all possible scenarios (ha!), and will make it to the top. I'm thinking mid-summer and with someone who is wearing shoes with tread. One of the times I turned back was because my son Ben had worn some shoes that had virtually no tread on the bottom of them. There are some pretty hairy rocky ridges that you absolutely need some gripping power on your feet.

It was actually harder coming down in the mushy snow than it had been going up. Not exertion-wise, but footing-wise. When I made it back to the saddle to meet up with Mike, I snarfed down my sandwich and we prepared to go back down the trail. A guy who was with a "Meet Up" group asked us if we were enjoying ourselves. "Always," I said. "I can't come up here with having a great experience."

And it's true. The trip isn't always making it to the top, but it's the adventures that you have and the people you share them with. In that regard, I wouldn't trade my life for the world.

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