Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mt. Yale and the near death experience...

Mt. Yale, 07.08.07

I see it's time to catch up a bit, I forgot that I hadn't posted my experience summitting Mt. Yale, and my near death experience! Well, not really, but it was close! The picture to the right is Yale from the top of Harvard the day before. If you look really close, you can see Jodi, Mae and Lexi hiking ; )

So just the day before Heather and I had spent 15 hours hiking Harvard and Columbia, but I had it in my head that I was going to do Yale that weekend too! Heather opted to go home, check out her blog to see what she had accomplished the weekend before and you'll know why she went home Saturday. But anyway, Saturday night, I drove to the trailhead and turned in for the night-I was out like a light! I had a nice long rest in my car and then finally decided to get going and was on the trail by 7:45am. It was a little later than I would have liked to start, but I needed the rest! So the first part of the trail was really nice, lots of trees, and the flowers were breath-taking!

This was definitely one of the more scenic trails I've been on all summer! It really made hiking alone a lot nicer.

Somewhere around 9am I broke above treeline and got my first glimpse of the summit. Yeah Yale, here I come!! (I'm not sure what kind of face I'm making, I think I was just trying to get myself and all of Yale in the picture!

There were quite a few people on the trail that day, including a group of 7 or 8 hikers with, if I remember correctly, 5 dogs with them! It was great! If you know me, you know I love dogs and it was fun because we kept leap-frogging each other and their dogs did great! Just goes to show there are well behaved dogs, and owners, for that matter!! Maybe that'll be me one of these days...

Getting back to the trail, which was quite steep by the way, I continued trekking onwards, and finally got up to the ridge, and everyone that had passed me on the way back down said once you got to the ridge, it was much easier, so needless to say, I was relieved, however, only for a moment. I realized quickly that the wind was picking up and that the storm clouds that had been gathering were getting closer and soon, it started to snow. Yes, it was the beginning of July and it was snowing! Granted, I was somewhere around 13,000+ feet, but still! I was not ready for this! I put on every layer of clothing I had and the wind was still getting to me! I climbed over to the other side of the ridge where it wasn't so windy and continued to climb. I reach the first false summit, if you can really call it that and by then the snow had stopped and there was very little wind, thankfully. However, as I stood looking to the summit a roar of thunder came out of seemingly nowhere! I had not seen any lightening or heard any thunder prior to this. I quickly scrambled down out of harms way. I sat, guarded by the rocks for a moment, comtemplating what I should I'm not one to give into "summit fever" but it was killing me to be so close (less than 10 minutes to the summit) and turn around giving up the summit for that day. A couple of hikers passed me coming down from the summit, and I asked them how the clouds looked from the summit and where they were going. I was encouraged when the one guy said that the clouds were actually moving away from the summit and if I waited it out maybe five minutes or so, I'd be in the clear! Woohoo!! Just the news I wanted to hear! So I took his advise, waited five minutes or so, and then went for it. And just as he had said, the summit was clear and the clouds were quickly moving away. Even though the storm had passed, I didn't know what was in store for the rest of the afternoon so I only stayed on the summit long enough to get a couple of pictures and then scrambled down. As you can see, I replaced my yellow "Life is good" hat with my was cold up there! The other picture is of the storm that had just a short time before been hovering over the summit of Mt. Yale. The rest of the descent was quite windy, threatening snow the whole way and it held off until I reached timberline. I finally made it back to the trailhead around 3pm. That was the first time I'd ever hiked three peaks in two days! It was great, I'm glad it's over and I can't wait to do it again : )

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