The trip report catch-up continues!!
**Disclaimer: I want to be upfront; this is NOT advised as a hike for most dogs. It's a big undertaking, physically and mentally.
|Thanks to Kimberly D. for the pic!|
Post-chase. Threw her in the car just
how she was when I scooped her up in
I'll keep the written summary short, as most of the story is in the pictures (of which there are many) and it's more for memory's sake. Advanced apologies it's not as organized as usual.
We hit the trail (Valley Way) at 2:30 AM and Kimberly and Ann set a fast pace! I don't know if it was the speed or poor memory, but going up Valley Way was nowhere near as difficult as I'd anticipated. Not that any part was particularly challenging but I remember coming down it a couple of years ago thinking I wouldn't want to go up. Every once in awhile, we could see the sky on fire with vibrant reds and oranges in the pre-dawn light. As that light took over the sky, we passed the hut and began our climb over the talus to Madison's summit. Let me just say: it was glorious. So very special. Boulder fields are not particularly difficult, it's just a matter of picking one's way. We had the summit to ourselves around 5:15 AM and took in the views as much as we could before heading down.
|Hmmm, care to guess why Ty stays leashed|
til being above treeline?!
|Summit Numero Uno!|
|Looking south-ish (Adams and Washington)|
|Looking west-ish (Adams)|
|We're going that way!|
|Such a beautiful trail with the laboriously|
|Just a trail pup making a pretty pose|
|Looking down into Great Gully(?)|
|Where we're headed|
|Where we came from (from the summit of Adams)|
|So much talus!|
Between Adams and Jefferson was longer than I recalled but often very enjoyable. It was a bit steep after passing through the col and heading up Jefferson and Ty actually needed to evaluate one particular set of rocks. It was a relief when the ground leveled and the rocky summit came into view. We tried to linger and Ty even laid down while we had our first real food since beginning but Kimberly saw a mondo bee of some kind and we made haste departing.
|Looking back from whence we came|
|Another view back at Adams|
|Summit rockpile up ahead|
|Super official summit marker, no?|
|Departing the summit|
|Monticello lawn with Washington in the background|
|If only she'd look at me like that!|
|Mt Clay up ahead. We skipped it but it'll be a nice peak to visit some other day!|
|Looking back (again!) The beauty of being|
above treeline is the 360* views
That trend continued as we proceeded closer and closer to Washington. 100% above treeline, there isn't too much to describe that can't be understood through pictures.
|One of my favorite views|
|The rockpile portion of "the rockpile"|
|My only summit shot - supporters and racers from the road race|
At the Lakes of the Clouds hut, I ushered Ty to the only patch of shade and she immediately collapsed into a sleep so deep, she hardly noticed a gorgeous pittie giving her a sniff down (I didn't notice him at first either!) but the hut staff did immediately when he snuck in.
|Just had to share so everyone can see how|
she initially felt about her boots!
From the shortcut, we followed the Crawford Path towards Eisenhower and I could feel the end was nearing... sort of! The stretch between Monroe and Eisenhower was something I'd yearned to do for awhile and that special-ness carried me mentally for the next couple miles while Kimberly was subjected to the sounds of a clumsily galloping horse tailgating her (Ty in boots!).
|I love the view of the AT winding over the ridge|
|This trail is so enchanting to me|
We passed by the summit sans celebration due to the moderate crowd and reactive Weim but Ty was okay without more of a break for another mile or so. Between Ike and Pierce is usually a favorite meander and I had to keep reminding myself of that, as my mental energy was waning along with Ty's physical stamina. The more we stopped for her, the more I was ready to reach the next junction. Kimberly was definitely stronger and more patient than me!
The views were still fantastic but the temps started to rise as we lost elevation. We finally made it to the Webster-Jackson junction and I dropped my pack and coaxed Ty to jog up to Pierce's summit cairn with me to make the traverse official.
From there to the Mizpah Cutoff, Kim humored me with some conversation to pass the time but time started to drag. By the last three-quarter mile I was mentally d-o-n-e. I'd done that trail a handful of times and yet, around every corner, I expected to see landmarks like Gibbs Falls that never seemed to appear. When we finally reached the falls, instead of celebrating, I merely thought of the next checkpoint, knowing all the while I was being a brat but didn't care. Kimberly pulled ahead as I lagged for either myself or Ty. I had run out of water at the exact point I had predicted I would but with more serious consequences. In comparison to how much we'd hiked I hadn't eaten or drank enough and I'd started to feel the effects. (Extremely) luckily for me, Kimberly had gatorade in the car that she graciously shared. I owe that woman....
Double bacon cheeseburger instead of her usual
naked patty after this big day!