Death March 2010

Given that I am writing this post, Death March 2010 obviously did not end in actual death. But there was a lot of misery, pain, and trauma. My fingers are the only part of my body not aching in pain and stoved up with stiffness. Lucky you, I can still write. Here, let me tell you all about it.

First we got up when it was still dark outside. There was coffee, but not enough to matter.

Then we (T, Luke, friend Patrick, and me) hiked up a GIANT mountain. The parking lot was really crowded, and we had to park way down the road. That probably added like 100 vertical feet to the climbing I had to do today. Every foot counted. Believe me. There was no backtracking. It was a cold 54 degrees F when we started. Burr! Don’t we look happy and energetic?

What am I smiling about?

Then the sun came out and so I baked on the way up, scorching in the thin high-elevation air, which made the 2.5 hour uphill-all-the-way-trek all the more miserable (think I’m kidding? Do that kinda time on the stairmaster at altitude in the blazing sun and then get back to me).

Me, Luke, and Fischer on the trail. Ultimately, we summited that mountain--the big one in the background.

Fischer literally pulled me up that mountain. I don’t know what he thought was at the top that was so worth getting to, but he was hell bent on putting one paw in front of the other. He is my hero. I bought him an ice cream after to say thank you.

My hero enjoying his post-hike ice cream.

On account of me being a total puss, there was a lot of stopping. While there was regular stopping for snacks and rearranging of layers, mostly there was stopping to gasp for breath before my lungs exploded and to slow the rapid palpitations of my heart. Sometimes the stopping lasted too long and it was hard to get going again. After awhile I found a bit of a rhythm, stopping only long enough to stop the dizziness and tingling in my extremities before resuming the uphill slog.

Snack break! Fischer-dawg and I share a turkey sandwich; Luke looks at stuff.

Finally, after 2.5 seemingly endless hours we reached the summit of Gray’s Peak. On the way up, to keep myself going, I’d pictured it bright and sunny with crystal clear 360 degree views of the mountain studded landscape. Not. So. Much. More like mist, cloud, and the first sprinkles of what would turn into a soaking thunderstorm that would plague our descent. Lack of crystal clear views aside, the summit was the best part, and we took lots of pictures of that. Here’s a few:

Patrick captured us, heads down with determination, hiking up the last pitch to the summit. (Thanks for sharing the photo, Patrick!)

Looking sort of south, mostly at a bunch of fog.

Bumble bees at 14,000+ feet? Who knew.

The intreped climbers at the "actual" peak. Gray's is sort of a ridge. Without this pile of rocks, it would be hard to tell exactly where the top is.

My buddy needed a rest before the descent. T's leg makes a good pillow for a tired dawg.

Have I mentioned that it rained the ENTIRE. WAY. DOWN? The showers started while Luke and I waited for Patrick and T to summit their second 14er of the day. Showoffs. They practically ran up and down the short 0.4 mile trail to the top of Torres Peak. We watched through binoculars when the clouds weren’t covering the peak. Fischer and I huddled under my banana-yellow poncho trying to stay dry.

The showers turned into a full on lightening flashing and thunder booming rainstorm once we started back for the car. There are no pictures of our slogging, soaking, boot-squishing, finger numbing descent. At one point, I slipped and went down. T helped me up and I nearly lost it. I remember a lot of petulant, pathetic whining and sniffing back of tears.

“I just wish you hadn’t gone up the second mountain. If we had just gone down it wouldn’t be raining on us, ” and, “You ate my ham sandwhich…*SNIFF*”

The poor man.

Eventually, wet, cold, and actually happy–as in, happy that it was finally over!–we reached the car. Salvation! At last!

Or so I thought.

Traffic was crawling along at 20 MPH and it took us 2 more hours to finally get home. I slept in a cramped position in the front seat while the boys talked about bodily functions or something. I dunno. I was asleep. Isn’t that what boys talk about?

Finally, home. Laundry. Hanging things to dry. Fischer-dawg inhaled his kibbles and passed out cold. The humans assumed various positions on the couch, and snacked intermittently on leftover Chinese food.  I survived. The dog survived. My relationship survived.  Eventually my legs will stop hurting…eventually.

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3 thoughts on “Death March 2010

  1. Good times! Thanks for the inspirational photos and description! We might be doing the hike this weekend after I’m done with these durn finals.

  2. Pingback: Rule #1: Stay in the Boat | the short stack

  3. Pingback: Crossroads of time | the short stack

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