|Jackie, Chris, Joel, and I ready to start our hike!|
|Jackie and Me|
At about one mile, we had enough of the steady, steep upward climb and were ready for even the smallest bit of level ground. Joel had been promising us the trail leveled out at the one mile mark, but it never came. EVER.
|This is what Chris and Joel do when we ask them to pose for a picture together!|
|This picture hardly gives the steepness of the trail justice... but Joel is very sweaty so you get the idea...|
|The view from the Two Mile View Point... we want more.|
At about the 2.5 mile mark, Chris felt he was slowing the group down and urged us to continue on without him. After a heated discussion filled with statements like, "no way, this is how scary movies start, didn't you guys learn to never split up!", "are there bears in these woods", "why didn't we pack our shortwave radios", "we are going to end up on the news, I just know it", and "well okay fine, but here take some of my food", we left Chris behind. This sounds terrible, I know, but it was his idea! Jackie, Joel, and I continued on the trail and Chris followed behind us, but at his pace.
It took the three of us about another hour to travel the remaining mile and half to the summit. I was working hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other and was using every bit of energy I had. But when I saw the nearly 360* view and the sweeping landscape, I was so glad we pushed ourselves. The view from the top of Mt. Washington is amazing!
|Remember as you look at this pictures of me... I just finished climbing a four mile high mountain!|
|We made it! If only Chris was here...|
|The view while I ate my lunch...|
We started back down the mountain to find Chris at a run. Literally. We were running back down the trail. Jackie was convinced that Chris hadn't made it much farther than the spot where we left him, about a mile and a half down the trail. If you had told me on my way up the mountain, that I would be running back down it, I probably would have pushed you into a tree and kicked dirt on your shoes.
We had been running down the trail for about five minutes when all of a sudden my heart was in my throat and I was struggling to piece together what I was seeing! It was Chris jumping out from a bunch of boulders, growling like a bear. Chris said the three of us came flying down the trail, came a complete stop and just stood there dazed and confused; he thought it was pretty funny.
We were all so surprised to see Chris and so excited to see that bear hadn't eaten him, not a single limb was missing! We convinced Chris to continue up the trail and make it to the summit, so back up we all went. Once again, if you had told me on my way up the mountain, that I would be summit the mountain twice in a single day, I probably would have stolen your snacks and poked you with a stick.
It was wonderful to summit the mountain together, all four of us! I was so thankful that Chris had made it all the way. I was really impressed! Chris had been a smoker for several years and even though he quit years ago, has struggled with catching his breath on our long hikes in the past. Recently, Chris has been changing a few things and clearly he has what it takes! After a few more pictures, snacks and water, we headed back down, this time as a group.
|Now this feels better! We did it!|
It was a struggle for me to keep up good humor while enduring so much pain, but I kept telling myself, "you have no other option, you have to walk down off the mountain, you have to keep going, slow and steady, you have no other option". Joel, Jackie and Chris noticed I was hurting and tried to help me, but there wasn't much that could be done. By the time we reached the car, we were a sad group. Chis lost about half an inch of skin off his right pinkie toe from rubbing in his shoes, my ankle and knees were making the slightest movement painful, Joel felt guilty for picking the hike and Jackie was exhausted.
The car ride home was quiet but we were all in agreement, it was a great experience. We pushed ourselves and accomplished an amazing feat!
Joel tracked our adventure using his Endomondo app and here are the stats:
Miles Traveled: 8 miles
Total Elevation Gain: 3,517
Max. Altitude: 4,432
Time to Hike to the Summit: 3 hours and 2 minutes (average speed of 1.3 mph)
Time to Hike back down: 2 hours and 37 minutes (average speed of 1.7 mph)
Total Calories Burned: 3,651