In my own way, I’m a fairly ambitious person. I have some Big-Ass Hairy Goals. But one of these many goals is to summit the highest point in all 50 states. So far, I’ve done 13. Most of them have been relatively easy to “bag”. But recently, I tackled Mt. Whitney, the highest point in California as well as the highest point in the Continental United States at 14,505 ft in elevation.
It was 22 miles round trip, and my boyfriend and I did it over two days. The first day, we hiked up to Trail Camp which was 6 miles and 4,000 ft in elevation from the trail head. (The trail head itself is at an elevation of about 8,000 ft) The altitude did not treat us kindly. The weather was perfect though and the scenery gorgeous. The trail itself was actually a very easy trail aside from being 11 miles in one direction. It was just long and as I said, the dwindling oxygen at altitude was killer. If we hadn’t been in better shape (we both CrossFit) I don’t think we would have made it to the summit.
We camped for the night, and woke up feeling *MUCH* better. We left most of our heavy gear at camp taking only a smaller pack with lots of water, snacks, and of course, a first aid kit. We got an early start for the 5 miles and 2,000ft to the summit. There were a couple tricky spots on the trail where the snow hadn’t yet melted, but we made it to the summit pretty much right when we’d planned to. It was amazing. The air was so clear. If it weren’t for other mountains in the area, you felt that you could see forever. We hiked back down to camp, packed up and headed back down the mountain. While we made good time, we were incredibly sore and exhausted by the time we reached the car. Driving the 4 hours back to LA that night was completely out of the question.
So we got some *PHENOMENAL* steaks in town to celebrate our accomplishment, and then grabbed a seedy little motel room to crash for the night. We headed back home the next day. We ended up canceling our plans for the rest of the week because we were completely wiped. I was limping for days because my calf muscles were so tight. It’s a bit counter-intuitive, but coming down a mountain hurts *SO* much more than climbing up to the top. Next time we tackle a big one, we are definitely going to have to do more specific training for it!
But yay for bagging my first fourteener! I’m not sure what my next highpoint will be. I’ve done most of the surrounding states, so it takes a bit of planning to get to new ones. I’m going to NYC in November, so possibly get Connecticut or New Jersey or Rhode Island or something while I’m out there? I’m also going to be traveling to Michigan quite a bit in the near future, so perhaps that one, although getting to that one in winter is tough because it’s an unpaved road that doesn’t get plowed.
Here’s the list of state highpoints I’ve bagged so far:
New York – Mt. Marcy
West Virginia – Spruce Knob
Maryland – Backbone Mountain
Pennsylvania – Mt. Davis
Ohio – Cambell Hill
Indiana – Hoosier Hill
Georgia – Brasstown Bald
South Carolina – Sassafras Mountain
North Carolina – Mt. Rogers
Kentucky – Black Mountain
Tennessee – Clingman’s Dome
South Dakota – Harney Peak
California – Mt. Whitney
What are *YOUR* Big-Ass Hairy Goals? Maybe you can help me add to my list!