I finally got back to take on Turtlehead in Red Rock Canyon. I had gone last spring and simply pooped out before even getting close to the saddle. I was heavier and less fit at the time. So today it was going to be fun to get to the top. Joe picked me up and I was loaded with water, camera, extra cloths in case of cooler weather and my boots were laced up tight. I also decided to give the Glacier Goggles another run to see how they did.
We pulled into the trail-head and Joe immediately left. He was going for time again and that was great. I was going for progress. The beginning of the hike is shared with the start of the Calico Tanks trail and with some climbing walls I have been to so it is familiar and sort of old hat. But I immediately recognized that the effort was much different than it had been. Now was far better. Pretty soon I was at the point we took our first rest the last time I went. But I blew passed thinking there was no need to rest here. I felt like I had just warmed up and did not need to lose my momentum. It is at this point where the steepness begins so I had to drop down a gear and dig in. It was a fun bunch of work. I chugged along and finally was at the point where you are basically scrambling around on goat trails. But I kept getting other hikers telling me I was better off on this other path…so I would go there and then get the same thing from some others. they were being helpful, but the truth is, I should have just picked a trail and stuck with it.
I generally like scrambling. It is the part of climbing wall approaches that makes me work. But when all the hand holds are rough, loose shale, well….not so much fun. I was doing well and working my way up. It was not difficult….it just SUCKED. I looked up to see how much more of this I had to endure and thought, why am I shredding my hands again? I am not going to be doing anything like this in Nepal and this simply is NOT fun. So, just below the saddle I turned back and worked my way down again. It was a good hike for what it showed me. It showed me that fun hikes are doable and I can turn back on ones that simply are not fun. It showed me my increase in fitness and that if I keep plugging along, things will be great in Nepal.
After I got home I did suffer two days of thrashed knees. Note to self: Wear knee support on steep hikes. Period.