Surviving a brutal winter and spring, due to adverse medical conditions, I remain with no friends in the area to regularly hike with. Nobody chats about peaks or road trips with me. The Reno Sierra Club was nice enough to run evening hikes, advertised on Meet-Up, and I partook in a few of those. But they are a completely different crew than the peak baggers of old.
Some in the Sacramento area endeavored to run some peak hikes by Meet-Up, but it’s a far cry from the ancient Peak and Gorge. Not even coming close to the 1980’s Climbing-Knapsacking Section of mine. They seem to stick about the Lake Tahoe and Carson Pass area, leaving the High Sierra peaks to a different Meet-Up group. The ones that I led, described at my Pete’s Classic Leads section on my website, appear to be of a higher class, with multiple peak ascents, accomplished in two day weekends, or less or more. No return to that foreseeable.
Mostly, I spent my time locally with nothing to do. Usually feeling exhausted, I lingered in bed late, and stuck to small chores and little spending. Hibernation for better times. I suspected that I may have had seasonal affective disorder. “Winter,” sayeth the doctors. My mood fluctuated up and down, but mostly down. I wasn’t spending much, but having little fun, too.
With some business to tend to, my mind began to kick into gear. I started to think about trying to feel good by caffeine. If nothing else, it makes me feel better, although I sleep poorly. Getting whole cartons of Diet Coke from the supermarket, along with Starbucks drinks, I began my days consuming large amounts to get me going. One old companion urged to Ginseng tea. So, instead of lying the whole day in bed, I’d get up and check the computer. What message may come out of the blue, by some old compadre looking for peak climbing company. Early starts were out for me, due to my sleeping late. But hopefully, I can fight that.
With near no sleep for two nights, I arose early to go to the fast food, and had a sumptuous breakfast. Going back home, I figured for a short Sunday hike and trip. Maybe to Frazier Falls, or Hunter Creek Falls. I figured on Galena Falls, and to go as far as I could, dependent on how I felt.
Motoring south on U.S. 395, I took the Mt. Rose Highway, and started my hike by about 9:25 a.m. I surprised myself by speeding up the trail, with a nearly full parking lot. To Galena Falls in about an hour, I was keeping track by my Watch and phone. Doing some video, I sauntered on, traversing to the ascent route.
Figuring on stopping at the 9,731 foot elevation with the flat saddle, I couldn’t see why not to go for the top. There appeared to be another Meet-Up group competing for trail space. My pace and times were great. Lots of hikers on this sunny day. The wind insured that no mosquitoes would bother us.
Using my pee bottle a couple times, I drank plain water in another bottle, and climbed up the slope. It looked like new things in the form of trail work. Too close to turn back, I summited at about 12:22 p.m. Throngs of young people about with many kids, too. I had put on my light layer under my parka, to deal with the strong breeze. I took my photos, and video twirls. I didn’t look, but I saw no registers. The rangers, true to their word, must have removed them. Wilderness policy.
Resting and then getting up to snap a few more pictures or videos, I finally started down. Lots of time today. Many hikers were coming up in shorts and T’s, possibly unprepared for the chill wind. I began with wildflower shots, then was back to the saddle, and drank more water.
On my descent, my legs started to hurt. I do have pains typical for older people, and just went slower. I took some stops, but a short rest kept me ambling down, on my way. My situation last September was much more dire. I had worries about actually getting out. A helicopter roared overhead, and then I was back to the falls, comfortable with knowing only two small hills lie in the way back.
Marching on, companions would have helped. I recall the agony of beginners attempting a peak hike. I began to see how that was affecting me, in my old age. My knees began to hurt, and with age, it gets worse. I’m used to some pain, but weary, stopped to rest on rocks.
With the final downhill ahead, I clomped on down. It seemed longer than I remembered, then the signs at the junctions appeared, and soon I was back at the parking lot by 3:52 p.m. Stiff, and sore, I moved like an old man. Young, fit people would rather faster company. The Meet-Up group had long finished, and while I took less time than in 2015, I wonder if I’d do this again.
Motoring off, I got drink at a fast food, then went for a casino meal. Resting in my car, or at my table, I began to enjoy things more. A short drive on home, but in our returns to California, we rest good in our cars.
The stats are 10 miles and 2,000 feet of gain. I captured a couple hundred or so photos with some for a movie clip (720p HD, 23 MB, 1:07).
This amount of hiking may be the maximum stat for what I now try to do. As I sit at my desk, my knees hurt. I’m rehydrating, and joyous that I was successful. With money to go for equity, and not expensive road trips, my aim is to be frugal. Hiking local peaks and trails, this is the cheapest fun.
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