|View to cross the creek|
on the return trip.
|View from the ridge along the|
along the South side of Warwick
Back at the school I said goodbye to my friends and began the second part of the journey. I had just under 2 hours done and I wanted to do 5 today. So I decided to head east on the HST for an hour and a half and back. I had done this portion back in March with Maggi and Russ. I was a little nervous about taking it on again. In March we were knee deep in snow in some spots. Mostly it was mid calf or packed but a lot of it was deep. We encountered one spot where we lost the trail for a bit. Everything was all white, a marker had blown down and we did do a little backtracking before finding our way. I was concerned about having to manage that alone. However, when I got to that spot again I was just fine. It's way different in summer than winter. In summer you can see the space between the brush where the trail is supposed to go. Mind you in some places the growth was so thick it was barely noticeable but it was there. In winter it was all white and since most were not foolhardy enough to hike it in that weather there were little or no tracks to follow.
I struggled a lot back in March. I didn't know how much of it was the snow, the cold, the long layoff or the hills. It was probably all of the above and I'm happy to say I fared much much better today. I was surprised at how much of the trail I remembered. I was in such a sorry state last time. In my mind's eye I could only see mile after mile of white hills. As I hiked today though I recognized a lot of it.
I purchased hiking pants earlier this week and boy was I was grateful for long pants today. I would have had to turn back in these stretches if I had been trying this in shorts or Capri length running pants. Instead I put
My hike today ended up being just under 5 hours. (Garmin info here) I was pleasantly surprised to see that the return hike was faster than the out portion. By more than 6 minutes! I left the school parking lot just before the 2 hour mark and turned around to come back at 3 hours and 31 minutes. The extra minute was because I realized I was going to hit another mile and so why not wait for that beep. Yeah I know. Roll your eyes if you must but some of you reading this would do the Exact. Same. Thing. ;)
Before today's hike I was wondering if I was not challenging myself enough. My goal is to put time on my feet and not worry about the climbs but was that enough? Well today was a good challenge. The elevation chart off my Garmin speaks for itself. Gary, an MLC buddy who has run the Super hike told me the the first 7-10 miles of the hike (in its current direction) is up down up down up down. And likely steeper than what I did today. I need to average 2.5 miles per hour to complete the Super Hike in the allotted 12 hours. I did just a little faster than that today but I have work to do if I'm going to be able to keep that up for 12 hours. I feel like I'm on a good track though.I do plan to spend the winter climbing and getting stronger doing that. I've got room for improvement and time to get there.
Ok this is long enough for now. Tomorrow I'll log what I ate, when and why; how my water held up; the other benefits of hiking pants and what I should do about shoes.
Keep smiling and keep moving! :)