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Preparation for Summit Fever
May 29, 2017
This week, May will morph into June. It will be June!!! This marks the end of the school year, and most importantly, the beginning of mountain climbing season. Next week I will start with Mt. Hood and then after school gets out, I will head down to California, Nevada and Arizona to do Mount Whitney, Boundary Peak and Humphrey's Peak. Originally I was going to fly back east to visit family and friends and to hike a couple northeastern peaks. However, I found someone to sublet my apartment for the months of June, July and August, so being that I will be living out of my van for 3 months, I decided that I may as well travel.
I already hiked up the high point in New Mexico with my brother, Dan, and his wife, Gaby, two summers ago. Yet, I am stopping in New Mexico after hiking Humphrey's Peak so I can spend some time with Dan, Gaby, my amazing nephew, Ember, and their two adorable cats, Blanket and Floppsy. Afterwards, I will be driving across the country for the 7th time in my life. On the way, I will be hiking up the high points in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Deleware and Maryland before stopping in New Jersey and New York to visit friends and family.
I will hike the high points, (aka, walk up small hills) in New Jersey, and Pennsylvania while visiting with family and then I will drive to Vermont to visit my best friend, Laura and her wonderful family. There, I will hike Mt. Mansfield and then I'll head up to New Hampshire to hike, not drive, up to the top of Mount Washington before heading back west. I have not planned my return trip yet, but hope to do a different route so I can meander up a few more state high points. If all works out, I will have twenty or more of the state high points covered by the end of this summer. I must say, it doesn’t seem like a bad way to spend a summer or to make use out of living in a van.
This week I had the opportunity to do some training hikes. I spent some time in the coastal range, where I hiked Kings and Elks Mountains and Mount Hebo. Kings and Elks are definitely knee breakers (and head breakers if you don’t watch your step coming down), but they are fun hikes with beautiful views at the top. I headed to the Trapper Creek Wilderness afterwards, where I attempted to hike Observation Peak one day and to Soda Peaks Lake the following day, but was forced to turn around both times due to snow. Don’t get me wrong, I love snow (especially on a glacier), I just don’t like getting lost when there are no tracks in the snow indicating which way the trail goes. Regardless, I was not upset that I huffed it up thousands of feet of trail to no view and with the need to turn around. Rather, I appreciated the grueling but beautiful hike through the forest and the good training that my mind and body received for my upcoming adventure.
It’s nice to see this shift in my mindset. A few years ago I would have been pissed at having to turn around after numerous miles of exhausting myself on a trail. I am witnessing lately how much more I am able to accept my circumstances and see the good out of it. I guess when you live in a van you learn to appreciate and welcome any time spent outside of the confines of your home. Well, at least I do! Anyways, after a week of some difficult hikes with not much soreness, I feel well prepared and am excited to start my 50 state high points adventure.