6/12/18

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Amazing day today. Amazing place. This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I said to myself that it definitely was the most beautiful place I’d been when I was up there in the clouds, but I really have to think about it now. I’ve been to some beautiful places, so I’ll hold back on giving it the final award. Although the views were spectacular, the majority of the trail was not suited to running, at least for me. I was able to run the first 2 miles. A 2 mile work road leads up to the trail I was starting the climb on. It was significantly steep for me but I got up there with no issue. I ran the last mile as well. It was on the same work road. Everything in between the first two miles and the last mile, I had to power hike.

Here’s why – 

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Things like this. I do mean things, too. I don’t want to specify what this object is because never would I ever consider it part of a trail. Alas, I must revisit my definition of the word trail and the components which constitute a trail. The 6-inch wide ledge that goes diagonally up and across this rock face is the trail. The blue blazes on the rock face confirm this as true. The top of the rock was maybe 10 or 11 feet above the ground I stood on so I had to use my hands and feet to get up on top and go about my business, hoping there wasn’t anything else like this ahead of me. There wasn’t, and obviously my surprise at this obstacle is due to my lack of experience. I’m sure this is more common than I know. It’s just crazy. Most of the trail surface was extremely technical boulders and exposed bedrock, another aspect of hiking trails I was unaccustomed to. As strange and new and different as all of this was, I had a lot of fun. I didn’t have any trouble at all. I took a lot of photos though. That slowed me down so of course I didn’t have any trouble. Turned out to be just over 8 miles and about 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Time: whatever.

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The summit, or Chin, is in view in the above photo. At this point, I stopped taking my phone out of my pack and putting it back in because the views were so stunning I just kept taking it out again. Also, up there, whenever the trail popped up over the ridgeline, the wind was howling. It was a cold wind. The area up there is arctic-alpine zone. Sounds like I’m making that up.

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Nope. There’s a sign. I didn’t see any alpine flowers except these little white things that looked like mini dandelions. I couldn’t get a good photo of them but they were pretty, like little tiny cotton balls on the end of stiff green shoestrings.

Finally, I got to the top and hung out for a minute. Ate the stroopwafel United Airlines gave me on one of the flights here, and went back down.

The Chin, or summit, looking in a direction I’m not sure of –

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The way down was definitely more runnable, but I just didn’t feel like running. I was caught up in the scenery too much to hurry down. I wouldn’t have been able to look around me and see all the plants and birds and chipmunks. It was different from what I expected it to be, in the best way. Not often do I get to slow down and appreciate what’s around me.

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