Monday, June 29, 2015

May 20 Day 26 Mt. Taylor Summit!

It wasn't nearly as cold as I thought it would be last night!  Yay!  Woke up pretty well rested and got my butt in gear!  This new group I'm hiking with, Bear Claw, Grim, and Guy on a Buffalo get ready a lot faster tan me in the mornings, so I have to make a special effort to get myself together in order to get out of there in time.  We got going by 6:45 planning for a 30 mile day in order to make it to the Cuba post office in time on Saturday.

We started the day with a steep ascent up Mt. Taylor.  What a climb that was.  Not only was it hard work simply climbing up the side of a mountain, but Bear Claw, who was hiking ahead of me and Guy on a Buffalo stumbled upon a bear mauling a cow!  She kind of freaked out, as one would do, when she heard growling up the hill from her as she was watching the gruesome scene down the hill from her.  Feeling somewhat surrounded, she called out to us, forgetting our names in her fear.  We arrived and hiked a little faster to get away from potential danger.  Bear Claw did not hike alone for the rest of the day.  Understandably.

She had been talking about her friend Handy Andy who was super fast and had set the unsupported speed record for the John Muir Trail, doing it in 3 days and covering over 60 miles a day!  He was right behind us, she said, and should catch us today.  Not a few hours after, he shows up, walking up an 11,000+ ft MOUNTAIN like it's just a walk in the park.  Grim was long gone as well and we knew those two speed demons would be waiting for us at the top.

A few breaks to deal with elevation adjustment and mild elevation sickness were necessary, along with lots of water and snacks to get our muscles working at their best.  We eventually made it to the summit and Guy on a Buffalo pulled out the Cherry pie he had been carrying since Grants!  Summit Pie!  What a treat!  We all whipped out our spoons and dug in, after comparing spoon selection decisions. We all pretty much had the same long handled Sea to Summit titanium spoon, with slight variations.  The things that are important to us!

We signed into the log book that was hidden in the sign and noticed that Scallywag and Old School had already summited.  According to Handy Andy, who had run into them the night before, they had woken up at 2 am to have a sunrise on the summit.  The things we do!
(Grim and Bear Claw)
(Handy Andy and Guy)

We all took pictures and celebrated our first substantial summit!  What a view and what a rush!  As we began our descent we entered our first snow section.  It was nothing extreme or particularly scary, but the heavily wooded north face was covered in snow.  We enjoyed the change of scenery and the falls were still something to giggle about.

Grim and Bear Claw are much faster than Guy and me, so I spent most of my day hiking with Guy and have been thoroughly enjoying his company.  At 21, he is triple crowing (doing his final trail of the 3 - Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and the Continental Divide).  We eventually caught Old School, a 65-ish year old man who has seen more than his fair share of life, and Scallywag who has been dealing with tendinitis in his heel.

A great day and a powerful day.  We ended up calling it its a bit earlier than planned, at 23 ish miles, which is great of a summit day!  Old School and Scallywag are camped just ahead of us as we watch an amazing sunset tonight!

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