My heart was about to explode out of my chest and I glanced at my GPS watch to see just how high it was. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the display because I was running up a mountain and between the moving display and my anaerobic daze things were a bit confusing. I did see that I only had been at it for 20 minutes.
“Holy cow, I am running up this mountain super fast”, I thought to myself.
I had left camp after mulling around pre dawn with nothing to do. It kind of surprised me that at least Norman wasn’t up. He mentioned a little outing in the morning. I knew Lydia wouldn’t be up and there is no way Mo was going to exist pre 10 AM. It was around 6 when I sauntered away from the lake and headed for the far ridgeline to the West.
Now I was on top of the backbone of the Swan Range. To run along the ridge as the sun peaks up is tremendously moving. I watched as the shadow of the range I was on slowly slipped down the Mission Range far to the West. I was among the company of giants for a early morning get-together. I made my way towards a peak but about 00 to 300 feet away the pitch jetting straight up. This terrain was out of my comfort zone so I turned and skipped back down the ridgeline. Yes! I said skipped. I made my way back to camp to find Norman up cooking breakfast. Total morning “jog” was about 1:20.
I talked Norman out of a cup of coffee and the bean juice revitalized my systems. Before long Norman and I went on a short walk about to discover the cool terrain in and around where we were staying. Lakes emptying into other lakes sometimes with waterfalls in between. Really quite interesting.
Back at camp we all set forth to packing up and start the trek back out of the interior to civilization. Before us a 700 foot, straight up, accent on the ridge and then a quad crushing 4,100 foot drop.
“Where is Norman and Mo”, Lydia asked me as I closed in on her pace.
“Stopped to look at something”
“I am thinking, we have a long way to go and it is already past noon. And there is a lake to swim in at the end. And a lodge which probably has hamburgers and Cold Smoke”
That’s all it took and my pace quickened. With heavy packs the grunt was a little demanding.
On the ridge we climbed to a high point and a hut. What a crown jewel to a already great weekend. We all stopped for a snack between two rocks. In the back of my mind was the long daunting decent followed by a reward of meat and a dip in a “warmer” lake. I didn’t want it to end but all things must … right?
“Well, I am heading down”, and I stood up.
Lydia bolted back to her pack.
“Already, we just got here”, Norman inquired.
“Well it’s a long hike down and I have to get home … it’s a 4 hour drive”, I looked at Mo.
“Um we will see you at the bottom … I’ll wait.
And we were off. A couple hours later Lydia and I enjoyed a dip in Holland lake with a Cold Smoke in hand. Soon Mo and Norman showed up and we all went for a burger and parted ways. It was a good weekend … in many ways that I cant explain now. And I continue down the path. We all continue down the path.
- 21.2 miles
- 18,147 vert. Feet