Thursday, April 20, 2017

Garfield and Blisters, 4/17/2017

Renewable energy technology does not emit greenhouse gases and is generally better for the environment.  Read more about different types of green energy on the website of Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).  Please donate to UCS to support important scientific research for a better future.  I'll hopefully see some of you at the March for Science in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday the 22nd!

Mt. Garfield
Mt. Garfield Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail
12.4 miles round-trip (with the roadwalk)
3,000 feet of elevation gain

This hiking day, in terms of temperatures, was odd; the day started off (in the dark) warmer and progressively got colder throughout the day.  Our friend, John Myers, came with us.  It was a pleasure hiking with him as always!

The road was still closed from winter, so we had to hike the 1.2 mile roadwalk (2.4 miles extra round-trip).  I am hoping the road will be open soon, through, because it looked like it was in suitable driving condition.

It was still dark when we got to the trailhead.

The sun started rising through the trees, creating a pink and orange horizon:

My feet got a bit wet while crossing one of the water crossings, so after wringing out our socks and dumping the water out of our boots, we kept going.  I still felt like my feet were sloshing in my boots, but I was not cold because it still felt warm outside.

The trail was full of leaves.

The sky was a fresh and beautiful blue.

Snow started showing up as a little monorail in the middle of the trail...

We got to the half-way point: the large stream running through the trail.

By now there was snow all over the ground.

As you can tell, the snow levels of the trail varied unpredictably.

The snow levels were very high on certain parts of the path -- so high that the usually steep incline of the trail got evened out by the snow pack.

Beautiful tree bark:

As we got to the summit, the weather became colder and colder.  The summit itself was full of strong, crisp wind that threatened to push us over.  I leaped into the foundation on the summit for shelter, and my hands and feet became very cold.

I took some quick pictures at the top:

There were some not-so-nice-looking clouds that we noticed, but they didn't end up being a problem for us.

After taking a super short break at the cold summit, we rushed back down out of the wind.  Once we were back below treeline, I changed out of my wet socks and put on dry socks to warm my feet.  We only happened to have one pair of socks, and Sage wanted to change her socks too, so she took one sock and I took the other.  For my other foot, I wrapped a towel around it which was decent protection.  Until I got below the half-way point, though, my feet were still cold.  Once I got to a spot low enough and therefore warmer, my feet felt better.  We usually each have an extra pair of socks with us...don't know why we didn't this time around.

On the way down, John pointed out an old bear "nest" (signs of past bear activity) on top of a tree.  It was amazing!

My microspikes fell off at one point and I had to go back up some of the trail to get them (not that far thankfully).

More sky:

Mom and Sage kept getting leaves stuck in the bottom of their poles!

I have had this reoccurring blister above of my foot for the past few hikes; I felt it on this hike but thought it was of little consequence since it always hurts a little when I hike.  This time, because the towel came down my foot a little, my bare skin rubbed against the boot and caused my blister to get really irritated and bleed.

It was a good hike.  The snow will likely be completely gone within a few more weeks!

My classes are, one by one, finishing up -- my summer vacation from schoolwork starts soon!  It will be nice to hike without worrying about all the schoolwork I still need to do later in the same day.

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