I have not done a good job at keeping up-to-date on my blog. But here’s hoping I can catch up a little 🙂
Since running Berlin last September, I have ran many more races and hiked many highpoints–but haven’t written about any of them between family, work, travel baseball, running, household duties, etc. The most recent highpoint is Kings Peak, Utah, so I’m going to start my long list of states to catch up on (ten in total!) with this one.
Currently writing this on my flight home, via DFW. I have a window seat so I was delighted to see a gorgeous sunrise over the mountains this morning. Joel and I woke up at 5:15 to make this 7:14 flight out of SLC. Even had time to grab a cafe au lait, almond croissant, and Turkey sandwich for the trip home!
HIKE: At 13,528 feet, Kings Peak is the highest point in Utah, and the 7th highest state Highpoint (#1-6 are AK, CA, CO, WA, WY, HI). With an elevation gain of nearly 5,000 feet, and a total distance of 30 miles round trip, most hikers opt to split this into a 2-3 day excursion. But my brother Joel and I aren’t like most hikers 🙂
This was our second highest highpoint to date, behind Mount Rainier.
During our trip planning discussions, we weighed the options, and decided that a one day hike, via the popular Henry’s Fork trail route (all the others were much longer or harder) would be doable in 12-14 hours (although we had no idea how truly long the day would end up). The main reason we went for the one day hike was to avoid bringing all the gear that an overnight trip requires (tent, sleeping pad and bag, extra clothes, a JetBoil with fuel to have a hot meal, more food, etc). We both prefer having a carry-on while flying, so we crammed the needed items into a small rolling suitcase (for me) and a 32L Osprey backpack (for Joel).
GOAL: As with any hike, but especially a long one like this, our goal is to get up to the summit safely and with energy to spare, so we can return to the car injury-free, and not fully depleted. Thankfully for this one we didn’t have any time constraints, as our hike was Friday and our flight wasn’t until Sunday.
GEAR: 20L Osprey backpack
Puffy Outdoor Research jacket & extra Smartwool socks
Outdoor Research Rain pants & jacket
Goodr Sunglasses & sunscreen
Water bladder, filter, half liter bottle with Nuun electrolytes
Compass, first aid kit, emergency blanket, hand sanitizer, bathroom kit (TP, baby wipes, trowel, trash bag)
Worn: smartwool tshirt and long sleeve, Oiselle vest, Columbia pants, smartwool socks, Altra Lone Peak shoes, TNF hat, OR light leather gloves, Garmin fenix watch, Whoop band, roadID bracelet
FOOD: I brought more food than needed, which was great since Joel didn’t bring any (he was going to buy at the store when we arrived). I ended up sharing with him most of what I brought.
1 PopTart packet, Rice Krispie treat, peanut butter crackers, Snickers bar, Clif shot blocks Mountain Berry flavor, 2 packets of pineapple UCAN gel, Gushers (taken from the kids, hadn’t had these in about 30 years!), Clif bar, 6-inch Subway sub, Harvest cheddar Sunchips, and a packet of mixed nuts. Ended up eating (and needing!) all of that minus the nuts.
WEATHER: This mountain forecast website was very helpful–and Friday’s weather was perfect for hiking at a low in the mid-30’s, and a high of low-60’s. Some puffy white clouds rolled in later in the day, but we thankfully didn’t have any risk of rain or snow storms, or lightning. We brought the rain gear because the forecast had changed so much, we felt like we should play it safe, but ended up not needing it.
PRE-HIKE / APPROACH: We arrived in SLC on Thursday 9/14 midday. My flight from GSO to Charlotte landed just prior to Joel’s flight from Pittsburgh, so we were able to meet up quickly, fly to Salt Lake City, then grab our rental car from Hertz. We threw our bags in the back of a blue Chevy Malibu then drove straight to a highly rate lunch spot, Red Iguana 2, in Salt Lake City. The flight didn’t have anything but snacks and we were starving!
After scarfing down some enormous, delicious Killer Nachos, chips and salsa, trying mole (it wasn’t for me!), and Iguana house special beef tacos with guacamole, we drove two hours on I-80 to Fort Bridger, Wyoming, en route to our Airbnb in Lyman, WY. Joel wanted to check out the town named for frontiersman Jim Bridger, and after the two hour drive, we needed a bathroom break , which thankfully we found at the Ft Bridger historic site.
We also stopped at a quirky convenience store there and bought postcards, magnets, and stickers. The food selection was scant so we decided to go to nearby Mountain View for their full-sized grocery store, Benedict’s.
After purchasing a half dozen eggs, bread, and heavy cream for tomorrow’s early breakfast, plus a summit Snickers bar (they didn’t have our preferred Nutrageous bars, darnit!), we drove down the street to Subway to get our lunches for the hike (6 inch turkey for me, footlong turkey for Joel).
Fifteen minutes later, we arrived at our Airbnb for two nights, “The Barn” which was a tiny house connected to a barn. Though small, it had a bedroom (mine), a loft (Joel’s), a full kitchen and bathroom. It was extremely clean, and very charmingly decorated. The owners, Amy & Kolby, came out to greet us warmly when we arrived around 5 PM. Then we settled in by immediately repacking our bags for the hike (see Gear section above).
Both still full from lunch, we had a small dinner of my leftover tacos, checked the weather forecast (still looking good!), and went to bed early to get as much rest as possible for our early wake-up at 4 AM.
I didn’t sleep well, partly because we were at nearly 7,000 feet above sea level, and also due to the warm dry air in my bedroom. I got too hot in the night and woke up many times, but at 4 AM I felt decent. It helped that the two hour time difference made me feel like it was 6 AM, and my typical wake up time lately has been 5:15-5:30ish.
I cooked us each two fried eggs each, with toast, and we had coffee with cream to help us wake up. We packed our water bladders (mine held 1.5L, Joel’s 2 liters) and extra 0.5L bottle each with Nuun electrolytes. We planned to leave by 5, and after triple-checking the weather and our gear, and adjusting the seat in the Malibu for Joel’s height, left right on time. Joel drove us down back country roads to the Henry’s Fork trailhead.
The hourlong journey was in complete darkness—no street lights out there, and no illumination from the new moon. Thankful for high beams, we found the trailhead, but made a poor decision in parking at the first area that said Parking. We quickly donned our backpacks and headlamps in the chilly darkness (I did a very brief warmup to get my legs and back ready to work hard), and started trekking up the road towards the trailhead. Joel had downloaded the offline map for the area so we knew where we were, but unfortunately didn’t realize that we could have parked much closer. A quarter mile closer at least! Not wanting to turn around and go repark the car, we chastised ourselves and said “that’s not going to be fun walking extra at the end of this.” However, we had no clue just how utterly exhausted we would be upon our return.
ASCENT: At last, we made it to the trailhead and signed in the date, 9/15/23, on the trail register.
We started our watches to keep track of time, distance, and elevation, and began our long journey to Kings Peak.
As usual, Joel let me lead the way up the trail and set the pace (I’m the slower one of the two of us). Our headlamps shone brightly on the rocky trail, and made the frost on the trees and stones twinkle. The clear sky and stars boded well for a beautiful weather day. I inhaled deeply as I tried to set a brisk but not-too-aggressive pace, and smelled the sweet scent of Douglas firs and crisp mountain air. I had already put my hat on, since the temps were lower 30’s, but after a few minutes realized I needed my gloves too. This would begin a day of on-and-off decisions for my hat, gloves, long sleeve, and vest to help regulate my temperature based on the wind, elevation, and whether we were in sun or shade.
The water in Henry’s Fork creek babbled and gushed in the distance, and we moved steadily up the trail, waiting for dawn so we could remove our headlamps. We walked about an hour in the darkness, and didn’t have any issues staying on the trail or seeing the numerous rocks, downed trees, or bridges. Besides the river, we heard nothing… just peaceful silence, and occasionally the sound of my trekking pole pinging off a rock.
We stopped at the hour mark for a quick snack and bathroom break, then resumed our way through the forest. We stopped on the hour most of the way up, to ensure we took in calories, applied sunscreen, and stayed on the correct trail. The first eight miles had a slight uphill, easier walking (rocky but not as rocky at Mount Marcy), and a somewhat treacherous bridge crossing at mile 6. We stopped for a PopTart break just before the bridge (photo above, in the Food section).
Thankfully the bridge had a rope, because it was slick with frost and high enough that if we fell, it wouldn’t have turned out well. Plus the ice cold river moved swiftly below. I breathed a sigh of relief after crossing, and said to Joel, “on the way back, this will be the start of the home stretch” (meaning, the last 6 miles).
I erroneously believed we were approximately halfway at that point. The trail map on AllTrails showed this as a 25-26 mile hike. Though several hikers had commented that it was more likely 29-30 miles, and would take 12-14 hours, I believed (perhaps arrogantly or overconfidently) that we would be able to do it in less than 12 hours. I figured AllTrails had to be correct, and maybe those other people had taken a wrong turn, or their GPS’s were inaccurate. How wrong I would be…
The forest portion ended with a mule deer sighting—we spooked her and she ran off before I could snap a pic—and we wound our way through the largest meadow we had ever seen (about 4 miles long).
The walking was mostly easy, with a little elevation gain and few rocks, but at times muddy sections we had to jump, plus we needed to strategically cross tiny streams to keep our feet dry. We saw several other hikers and a few trail runners (how though, with all the rocks and elevation, could they actually run?) headed up the trail and called out greetings.
I lost the tip of my trekking pole in the mud here, and lamented that I didn’t even think to bring any spares. Lesson learned for next time!
At the 4 hour mark, approximately 10 miles in, we arrived at the first switchback at Gunsight Pass. Here we had our first glimpse of the rock fields to come. We moved steadily and I didn’t feel tired yet.
At the top of the pass, we paused for another snack break (Gushers! And the remainder of my PopTart) and marveled at yet another massive meadow and gorgeous vista below. I said it reminded me of the Lion King (“Look Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom”) which got us talking about Disney movies for the next section of trail.
Here we dipped down partially into the valley, then had to cut up several steep sections to find the trail again. (On the way back, we followed a hiker and took an alternate higher route through this portion back to Gunsight Pass).
The rock fields grew more dense and frequent, and we started to struggle with staying on the trail. There were no blazes of any kind. We relied on cairns (manmade piles of rocks that serve as helpful guides of where to go) and Joel’s On-X offline map, but I understood the comments from other hikers that the trail was difficult to find after a certain point. I’m very thankful that Joel is such a great navigator. I never feel like we will get lost.
We could see Kings Peak looming above us (after figuring out which peak was in fact Kings Peak), and though my watch said 13 miles, it slowly dawned on my fuzzy oxygen-deprived brain that we were going to end up walking much more than 12-13 miles up, and it was going to take much more than 6 hours. These mountains are so vast, it’s hard to explain the sheer size, I can only say that this mountain felt like a mirage.. we walked and walked and it sometimes felt like we weren’t getting any closer.
We stopped so Joel could filter some water in a mountain stream. I had enough water, so I sat down to rest and chew some Shot-blocks, as I was beginning to feel the effects of the elevation. My watch said we were at 12,300 feet, and I thought grimly, we still somehow have 1,200 feet vertical gain to go.
This section contained plenty of rocks to make it extremely slow-going, and lots of mountain run-off to make it soupy and more difficult to navigate. Thankful for cairns placed by others, I started to just make the next cairn my goal. Just get to the next one.
And the next one.
Over and over.
Finally we reached what I’d call the “final approach” at Anderson Pass and stopped for a rest and quick chat with a hiker eating a banana (who would later become known to us as Mr. Banana). We watched two women descend, and they gave us a fair warning that this was a long section with three false summits, and then began our final push up the “scree slope” (description from AllTrails).
As I gazed upwards, at what was approximately 800 more vertical feet, I had no clue how we were going to reach the top. It looked so steep and rocky. However, even though my head ached slightly and my lungs and legs burned, I never felt like we wouldn’t make it. I couldn’t grasp HOW we would make it to the top, but knew in my heart that somehow, some way, we would accomplish this goal.
Joel took the lead here, as the rocks became boulders and each step took physical precision that I was lacking right then. We alternated who led, but it was a big struggle for me. There was enough snow to help us find the route, following other hikers’ footprints, but I kept losing the route, so Joel took over.
It also got so steep that I could no longer use my trekking poles very well (and I lost the tip of the other one between two rocks, so now both poles didn’t have tips). Joel advised me to stow them, but I couldn’t get them stowed safely in my bag (and Lord knows I would hate to lose them off the side of this mountain!) so he kindly put mine in his pack. I had my gloves on so I wouldn’t hurt my hands on the rocks, and we bouldered / climbed our way up to the first false summit.
It blessedly flattened for a short section, then we climbed more. My entire body was working hard, and at some points the mountain gave way steeply on both sides, so my brain was hyper-focused to place each step correctly so I wouldn’t fall. My brain whispered to me “one wrong step could be disastrous” and I reassured myself:
You got this.
You can do this.
You are strong.
We can do hard things.
Over and over and over. I thought of Javi, Gabe & Asher, my parents, my coach, my friends cheering me on from afar, and I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I thought of Al Pacino’s Inches speech, and told myself every vertical inch gained chipped away at the remaining feet.
Joel confidently led the way, and we finally reached the last little bit, the final false summit. He made a comment along the lines of where’s the actual summit, (or at least, that’s what I heard) and I replied, we just have to keep climbing until we cannot go any higher. (Obviously the lack of oxygen was affecting us!) I huffed and puffed, trying to breathe deeply and get enough oxygen, trying not to feel dizzy and vertiginous on this narrow spine of mountain.
At last, at LONG last, after 7.5 hours and 15 miles of hiking, with less than 30 minutes of breaks, we reached the top of Kings Peak!
I had uttered plenty of expletives during this hike, but I believe I said something like holy f’ing sh!t when I reached the summit. Although it probably came out in a wheeze, sounding like holy…. [gasp]…. f’ing [gasp]… shit [gasp] 🙂
We had never worked so hard for so long to reach a summit, not even for Mount Rainier.
My relief was quickly overshadowed by the desire to sit down and eat. My legs felt like the wobbliest form of jelly, and I was breathing very hard. I pulled out my “summit sub” from Subway yesterday (wanting a more substantial meal instead of a summit Snickers), and marveled at the vast expanse of stunning mountain views. My revelry was quickly interrupted with a FaceTime call from Asher. I hadn’t had cell signal since we left at 6 AM, and now it was 1:30 PM, and 3:30 for Asher back home in NC.
Hi buddy, I answered. Before I could tell him I did it, I conquered this truly challenging mountain, and share my sense of accomplishment with him, he blurted out “Did you take my charger? I can’t find it.”
It made me laugh, which I felt as though I hadn’t laughed for ages, or at least hours, and I said no, I took mine, not yours.
I showed him the view, told him I loved him, and needed to go. We didn’t want to spend too much time at the top, as we knew that we had a very, very long way back.
We asked Mr. Banana, who had just consumed his second banana (thus, cementing his nickname in our minds) and had come up behind us, to take our picture with the summit elevation sign. (Probably should have asked him his name, but my brain wasn’t fully functioning).
I took his picture for him too. We also did our obligatory summit selfies, then packed up to begin the hardest 15 mile descent that we’ve ever experienced, back to the car.
DESCENT: After climbing that nearly-impossible steep boulder section, the last thing I wanted to do was go down it. I knew I had to–only one way back, and that was on foot–so I followed Joel the best I could.
Only had a few incidents where my foot slid, once slipping hard and the side of my right foot jammed into a rock. Dammit that’s gonna leave a bruise. Thankfully no “hike-ending” injuries and I was able to shake it off and carry on without much pain.
I felt SO much relief when we finished the Summit section, with its seemingly endless steep blocky rocks, and sketchy and slippery spots.
[Ok now I’m writing this on the final push to home. Changed our flights to fly back early and get home before the kids go to bed (good call!) Downside is there were only middle seats left, so I’m here in 22B. At least the two fellas on either side aren’t big! I have alternated writing this with reading the book Joel let me borrow, “Flowers for Algernon”]
We saw maybe a dozen hikers on our way down the summit section, some solo hikers and others in groups of two. One group had cowboys, and we could see their horses below.
Back at Anderson Pass, we regrouped for the return trip. My watch said it had taken us 40 minutes to go that first mile off the summit. I had a strong feeling we wouldn’t make it back before dark, but knew we had a long way to go and needed to pace ourselves. We passed the horses, and began to pick our way across the rocky ridge, taking the higher route back to Gunsight Pass, and following Mr. Banana way up ahead (and further ahead of him, a hiker we nicknamed “Gray Pants”). I really wanted to stop and eat my Snickers bar but Joel wanted to keep going so we wouldn’t lose sight of our fellow hiker up ahead, so I ate while I walked (normally not hard, but with all the rocks it was a bit challenging to eat and walk, lol!)
I was thankful Mr. Banana was there to show us the way, and we thought by following him maybe we took a shortcut that shaved off a mile or so (later at the car I figured it cut short about 0.6 miles, so it was worth it!) We had to go up the ridge, then across and down a steep section… the final steep section. I had several missteps again here and hoped my knees and ankles would hold up against the beating of all these rocky, awkward angles and slippery steps.
We followed the cairns and I played the little game with myself again (just get to the next cairn), and at last we were back at Gunsight Pass, with its long but gradual switchbacks. I tried not to think too far ahead, but knew we had many miles of muddy meadow left before we reached the bridge, and from there six miles back to the car.
One step at a time.
You got this.
What an adventure!
And the realization that this will be the furthest distance I’ve ever covered in one day on foot. In 2019 we hiked over 24 miles on the PCT, but last year’s Berlin Marathon (plus the walk to and from the hotel and dinner later) was my furthest ever on foot, at 26.2 miles ran and probably 2 miles walked. This was going to be over 30. Wow, I sighed. We are so strong.
And also we’re getting tired.
And… we still must have at least 10-11 miles to go. Which is… what… 4 more hours of walking? My brain struggled even with basic math, despite coming down in elevation and doing a good job of fueling and hydrating.
You got this. Keep a good attitude, and you will reach the goal.
We decided to stop at a creek around 4:30. I had a list in my head of things I needed to do: eat the other half of my sub, refill my water, get more sunscreen, apply some lip balm, go pee. I did all of it except forgot the lip balm so my lips are burned and peeling. I could tell after using the wood line (nature’s bathroom, haha) that I was slightly dehydrated, so I stepped up my drinking.
Joel was completely out of water when we stopped so he filtered a whole two liters. I knew I could get by with one liter, since it wasn’t hot, and I had left myself about 10 ounces of electrolytes in the car for the ride home. I also brought Nuun instant hydration packets that are specifically for when you need to rapidly rehydrate, so we each took one packet for our half liter bottles.
The stop ended up being almost 30 minutes by the time we ate and filtered water, so I felt somewhat refreshed. My legs ached, but they didn’t have the wobbly feeling from earlier in the descent. My headache was gone, and I had no foot issues except a slight ache on my right foot from where I slid hard coming down from the summit.
We stopped to take our pictures on this huge couch-shaped rock:
Shortly after, while crossing the wet section of meadow, I put my foot down in mud that was way deeper than I thought, and got a muddy foot.
I tried to “wash” it in the little stream but it didn’t do much except make my foot wetter, which I didn’t want. I didn’t feel any blisters or hot spots developing, and I wanted to keep it that way. I was able to laugh about the muddy foot so my outlook was still good. I didn’t want to reach the point where I was grumpy and depleted.
We carried on through the long meadow, and wondered how far we were from the bridge.
Turned out, about two more miles.
Oh… my… God. How can we have 8 miles left in total?!
We passed many hikers making their trek out to Dollar Lake, or some other campsites. A few of them asked us questions (such as, did it rain from 12:30 to 2 today? And how much further to Dollar Lake?), and it was nice to have a distraction and feel helpful to others.
Finally, with great joy and relief, we reached the bridge. All of the frost from the morning had long since evaporated, so it wasn’t slippery. It felt like overcoming the penultimate hurdle; now we just had six “easy-ish” miles through the forest. It was past 6 PM, and with sunset at 7:30, we knew we’d be walking in the dark.
We stopped at the clearing just past the bridge, and had what we hoped was our last snack break (spoiler: it wasn’t). Nothing sounded good to me, but I ate my peanut butter crackers anyway. Another hiker came as we were leaving the clearing and we chatted for a few.
Six more miles. Mostly flat or slight downhill. Not too rocky. We got this.
We stopped at 7 to get our headlamps out so we’d be ready for darkness soon. We glimpsed Mr. Banana up ahead and surmised he must have taken a long break like we did earlier. He was maybe a quarter mile in front of us but we never saw a headlamp beam from him, nor did we catch him.
Those final miles seemed interminable, and as darkness settled, our fatigue intensified. We remembered stopping at a beautiful overlook in the morning, and Joel figured out from the time stamp on his picture that it was an hour and 15 minutes into our hike that morning. That became our next near term goal, and just like the bridge earlier, it began to feel as though we’d never reach it.
You can do this. You can do this. You can do this.
We got this. We got this. We got this.
I told myself a variation of these things over and over and over. Each step is getting us that much closer to the car. This is a personal record for distance! (By several miles)
I started humming a variation of the Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night” by singing to myself “It’s been a hard day’s hike… and I’ve been working… like a dog.” I shared that with Joel, and he filled in the next lyrics for me.
At last we reached the overlook, but instead of relief, it was more of this incredulous feeling of how the F are we still over an hour from the end?
We reasoned we might be faster than earlier, since it was downhill, but I reminded Joel that our legs had 26+ miles on them and we probably weren’t moving as fast as before.
Joel said his feet were hurting and getting hot spots. I tried to pick up the pace but I just couldn’t move any faster than we were going. I recalled day 4 of the PCT, the final push with our cousin Cole, and Cole exclaiming how we were on a mission for food and showers. I tried to let that motivate me, except it was more like food and sitting down. I couldn’t believe we had been on our feet since 6 AM and it was now past 7 PM. We had been in motion for the better part of 13 hours. We’ve walked from before sunrise to well past sunset and we still aren’t done.
The last two miles can only be described as a Grind. Or maybe, The Grindiest of Grinds. Joel was hurting (only his feet), and my whole body started to ache, especially my ankle and knee joints, and my back. Our progress seemed agonizingly slow.
I started to wonder… How do ultrarunners do it? How did Heather Anderson set the PCT and Appalachian Trail fastest known times? She averaged more than 40 miles a day, on hardly any sleep, and here we were doing 30 miles on a decent night’s sleep, and I couldn’t fathom walking any further. I told Joel later (actually at the airport earlier today, since I’m writing this Sunday) that we found the edge of our limits, then we had no choice but to go past them.
It was either that, or sleep in the woods. And since we had a cozy Airbnb waiting for us, we knew we had to get back to the car.
I did my best to keep encouraging us along (not much further! We got this! So close! We’re 95% done!) but dang, I know we both felt so desperate to be done. We split a chocolate brownie Clif bar, then kept going. I didn’t see a small branch and smashed my left toes into it, yelling out curses into the night. Joel said he felt his blisters pop, and I felt so bad for him.
My hands got cold, but I didn’t want to stop to pull out my gloves. Finally, I had to do it–they were numb, and I couldn’t take it anymore.
I thought maybe I’d be a little afraid of the dark, of animals jumping into our path, but all I could think was Must get back. Must sit down, must stop moving. The earlier delightful fragrance of the fir trees did not refresh me like I’d experienced that morning. The morning felt like days ago.
I stumbled, again and again, I just couldn’t pick up my feet enough, or I wouldn’t see a rock and I’d trip on it. My trekking poles, both sans rubber tips, clicked on the rocks now and then. I was grateful for them helping me keep my balance during this long journey.
At long last, I saw something shiny glimmer through the trees.
A car… the trailhead!
We took a pic of the forest sign—we hadn’t earlier on purpose, thinking we’d be back before sunset (oh our sweet ignorance!)
Then we took a wrong turn, or rather missed the turnoff to the parking lot. Thankfully Joel realized quickly and we corrected our route. Neither of us wanted to walk one step further than necessary!
We checked out on the trail register, then began our “walk of shame”—as in, it was a darn shame that we didn’t park closer! I used my watch to measure it and it was over a quarter mile from the trailhead back to the car. Normally a quarter mile is nothing, but after 30 miles, this felt truly excruciating (and very frustrating).
Finally… at 8:35 PM, after nearly 14.5 hours of hiking, we were back at the car. My watch said 14.99 miles, so while Joel opened the trunk, I walked a few more feet to get it to 15 even (because of course) 🙂
I gingerly changed out of my hiking shoes (the left one still caked with mud), and with much relief, donned my sandals.
Joel didn’t have any shoes to change into, unfortunately. He drove us back, through the dark, the way we came earlier that morning.
POST-HIKE: Since it was approaching 9 PM, and our options were already limited due to our location, we decided on Pizza Hut for our post-hike dinner. Both starving, we split the last Clif bar (macadamia nut), and I attempted to call in our order once we had cell signal. No answer. We waited a few minutes.. still no answer. Finally, I downloaded the app and placed the order–the “never give up” attitude extending from the hike to finding a hot meal 🙂 We had about 40 min to Pizza Hut in Mountain View.
I could barely get out of the rental car (which was now covered in dust and dirt from the miles of unpaved road earlier) to fetch the pizza. Fifteen minutes later, we pulled up to the AirBnB, left our shoes outside to air out, and finally feasted on a large pepperoni pizza, washed down with more Nuun electrolytes. Joel’s feet looked awful–a mild case of trenchfoot, having had a wet foot for most of the day–but I reassured him they would be fine if he got them clean and dry, and let them air out. (The next day, we went to the Vans store in Park City to get him new shoes). An extremely long day–but we did it. Highpoint #25 = done! Halfway through the 49 states I hope to complete someday!
RECOMMEND: 100%–challenging yet gorgeous, with stunning views. Although I wouldn’t recommend doing it all in one day, unless you love very long hikes 😉
UP NEXT: We are hoping for a 3-fer next fall, Colorado + Nebraska + Kansas–or maybe OH + IN this winter–time will tell!
As always, thanks for reading!