Sunday, September 06, 2009

Mountain bender, day 7

It had become a challenge at that point - seven days in a row of Juneau alpine; a week of hard hiking and crisp air and the transforming tundra and snow and ice and sun. I already had all the physical signs of a tough week - bloodshot eyes, a grumpy post-hike demeanor and mushy, sore legs that even at the tops of stairs protested loudly for all the mean things I was about to do to them. Could I really pound down yet another mountain? But then Abby stopped me after work Saturday and asked me how I felt about Mount Jumbo. She had never been to the top of Mount Jumbo before. And I realized that a Juneau alpine binge just wouldn't be complete without a little bit of Douglas Island.

I drank four cups of coffee in the morning, in hopes that it would power me through. We started up the mountain, and as soon as I got going, my legs started to come around. All of it - the root-step climbing, the rock scrambling, the skidding and sliding, the downhill pounding - is starting to become routine. My legs protest for the first few steps, but quickly accept their fate and continue the march to happy heights. Abby said my pace didn't seem too slow, although I did lose my balance quite a bit more often than usual, even for me.

According to my GPS and a little bit of guestimation on the peaks where I didn't use GPS, I ended the week with 48.5 miles of walking and 27,200 feet of vertical. In there, I accessed four ridges and four peaks, one of them twice. It was a successful week in the alpine, and a fun challenge. But I think I'm about due for a mountain hangover.