Sometimes things just don’t go the way you planned, such was the case last weekend. Eric and I headed out to Utah with the goal being the state high point (King’s Peak – 13,528’). I was aiming for my 42nd state high point and Eric was looking for his 24th. The trip would be a short one with little room for problems. The ascent would be a tough one covering 28 miles round trip with over 4,000’ of climb and descent.
Things started well with a nice 6 mile run at Eric’s prior to our flight. The first leg to Washington DC went fine but upon arrival we found out that our out-bound flight to Salt Lake City was delayed. After finally boarding a couple of hours late some issue with “rotten food” held us up and by 9 PM the flight was cancelled. We were given a hotel room but didn’t get in until 11 pm and we needed to be on a shuttle back to the airport at 4:30 am. It was a very short night. On Friday we got to the airport and found that our 7 am flight was delayed. We began to do the math and arguments to just head home didn’t sound unreasonable. The flight finally left at close to 9am (7am Utah time) which was later than we’d hoped to be out on the trail!
Once we landed and got our rental car I drove as quickly as possible to the trailhead, and we gathered our gear and were ready to roll at 2:00 PM. Unfortunately we were well past the time we’d planned to be coming DOWN from the summit. We had six hours of usable sunlight and we both knew that descending the rocky trail after dark on too little sleep could be dangerous. So, starting out slowly from the 8,000’ trailhead we’d already decided that the furthest we’d run would be three hours. Peakbagging is fun, but the number 1 goal is always to get out safely.