I wasn't sure of my ability to hike in and out of the backcountry during my upcoming trip. This feeling of being a bit inadequate is, I'm part, due to the fact that I'm no longer a young man, but one with some of the aches and pains that come with age.
Yes, I've done well with my exercise plan that actually started before I left MA, hiking in snow. Yes, I've been aggressively achieving greater physical results before I even knew I had the reservation for the backcountry hike, but the hike is a bit daunting.
With a 10 mile hike into the backcountry going down 2300 ft or so and then coming back out rising up that 2000 feet over the last mile. I wanted to know I would have no problem.
Ok. Call me a bit cautious but this is with a full 50 Ltr. packpack carrying tent, sleeping bag, food, water (there is a supply of water once I get there) and all other things necessary for self existence for 3 days and 2 nights.
Thursday, I hiked 8.6 miles over about a 800 ft rise but it wasn't 2000 feet! Enter Mt. Wasson and the hike to the peak.
This my Wasson hike has been in my sights, as I have hiked it many times, but not this year, or with a full 50 Ltr. backpack.
I woke Friday AM and said to myself, I'm going for it today, with only one day between aggressive hikes. I will prove to myself that if I can do the backcountry hike by hiking Wasson Peak today. This way I will make sure i have no reservations about my 10 mile backcountry hike in March.
The beginning of March is just around the corner. Oh my!
I was the first to arrive at the Mt. Wasson Trailhead, and as I was getting my backpack ready, another guy about my age showed up having never liked the mountain and was interested in hiking together. I was pleased with his request, and come to find out when he asked me why such a large pack, and I told him where I was going, he had been to where I'm going under a company tour hike.
He booked a backcountry company to get the reservation and supply all the food, and equipment and he just had to carry water and hike in and out. The company actually passed out sandwiches on the trail. Their trail guide carried a pack with 80 lbs of supplies for a dozen people.
I know I still haven't told you where I'm going. Remember that I talk about where I've been or what I've done but not where I am at the time I'm specifically somewhere.
Back to my Wasson Peak hike. I'm only about 1/4 of the elevation to the peak here in the picture above.
Mike, who I was hiking with, was nice and friendly and carried a simular pace initially, then I was a bit faster, then I hit a wall about half way, where the saddle is and I took my pack off and took a 5 minute break as he continued on to the peak.
I eventually caught up to him again before the final assent to the top. I was worn but not hurting or having any huffing and puffing. It was the pack and it carried perfectly. By worn I mean I was just generally tired from the assent.
We stayed there for 10 minutes and then Mike asked if I would like to take the rim trail down with him and although a bit longer I agreed as I have taken it before.
We were doing well and about a 1/4 way down we were both getting tired. For me the weight and going down hill was worse than going up. Here I had been concerned about the climb out from my backcountry trip and I should have been thinking about the mussels used to holdback the weight of the pack.
About 3/4 down we both were ready to be at our cars but we trudged on to the end. We had it and were in a serious need of an hour to recoup. We parted ways with just a goodbye, wishing each other well.
Down the road I went to McDonalds and got an iced tea after making a sandwich from my compressor fridge at the Trailhead parking lot.
About an hour later I was good and mostly recovered. No residual aches or pains and no muscle spasms later either.
With back to back hikes of significance out of the way, I knew I was now ready for my backcountry trip, although I have thought of a few things I need to get before I go.
I'm not going to rest on my success of the day, as I will be hiking more times before my great adventure. Although, I will take Saturday off from hiking.