Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Peak bagging - Final part

The last day of peak bagging was a long day.  Eric and I got up at 4am and were running on the bike path in Montpelier at 4:30 am.  After 7 hours of driving we reached Baxter State Park.  It was raining pretty hard when we arrived but just before we started (1:15 PM) it let up a bit.
partial view of Katahdin
Our plan was to run/power-hike up and down the Hunt Trail (which is also the AT).  We figured it would take us between 4 and 6 hours depending on conditions and how we held up.  We are both in pretty good running shape but are both nursing some minor injuries.  When we signed the register we noted that only 7 other people were out on the Hunt trail and only 2 were headed to the summit.  It was a bit "late" in the day but we had emergency gear, head lamps, and a plan (turn at 4 hours if for some reason we were not yet at the top).

The first part of the 5.2 mile climb went fairly well.  We moved along quickly.  It got a lot tougher in the boulder section where my lack of flexibility and nervousness of falling slowed us down a bit.  There were 3 or 4 parts were I was worried (really worried) especially thinking about coming back down.  At the "Gateway" we got moving faster but then it got really tough again.
The ridge was mostly fogged in but the footing was okay.  I just did not like the scrambling we had to do on the steeper parts.  I'm not afraid of heights but definitely afraid of falling from heights!

We finally reached the plateau after spending about 1 hour covering the final mile to the "table land".

It was nice to be running again and not being worried about plummeting to my death.  We reached the summit in 2:33 and then took 10 minutes to get some pictures and have a gel before heading back.

With the "easy" part done we now had to head back down.  After a brief discussion we decided to head down the Abol Slide trail (3.8 miles).  My thinking was that we'd (I'd) do much better on the steep open slide where I only had to worry about falling to my death (or worse falling to my injury) and not have to worry about bending parts on boulders.  My parts just don't bend like the used to.  Eric was up for the shorter steeper route so off we went.

Neither of us had any problems with the slide, it was slow but methodical and we just kept steady progress.  We hit the bottom of the slide and jogged the last mile out to the road.  Then we just had another 2.5 miles to get back to the car.  In all it took us 5:11 to do the entire loop.  2:33 up, 10 minutes on top, 2:03 to come down the Abol slide trail, and 25 minutes to run the road back to the trailhead.  This was Eric's 30th state high point!


Greg said...

I love that mountain! I spent a couple days in Baxter a few years ago. What a beautiful place. I just wish the drive wasn't so far. Sounds like you guys had a fun trip.

MTNRUNR said...

Great write up! Have only been up/down Abol, Hunt sounds "interesting"! Good to hear you got it done with no broken/bruised parts to show for it! Great pix with the summit cairn! Truely an amazing place!!!

double-d Mountain runner said...