June 24th, 2009


Okay, I have officially had my butt kicked

I got up way before dark on Saturday and drove to the airport in Indy, heading out for a rapid, multi-tasking trip out West. The Big Adventure was to be the summiting of Wheeler Peak: the highest mountain in New Mexico, and the last of my Missed Mountains that I set myself to hike three years ago.

that_guy_zach and I tried to do Wheeler five years ago. He was sick, we were slow, the day was getting late and weather was rolling in, so we quit about 3:00 p.m. and headed back down the mountain. I was determined to nail the peak this time, and I did -- but it was the roughest day hiking I can ever recall, in my entire life.

Being five years older and twenty-five pounds heavier didn't help much, but the altitude is the real factor, I think. It's only six miles or so from the trailhead to the summit, so I assumed that Wheeler would be like Marcy or Ben Nevis -- and, considering its rise from the trailhead, maybe that's so. But the trailhead itself starts at 9200' above sea level, and then rises almost 4000' to the summit at 13,161'.

Herewith, then, is the story, admixed with other matter (and plenty of photos, all of which can be enlarged by clicking upon). Collapse )