by Randy Pierce
What is the “hardest” hike for me? The answer, for now, is both the last mountain I climbed and the next mountain I will climb. I take so much from each hike experience that it’s hard to let each go. I have put the Washington hike fully behind me and I am very eager for our next summit attempt: storming Mt. Hale this coming weekend.
Each mountain holds challenges that I must attempt to overcome, and I often try to get help from folks that previously hiked the trail. It is essential that I discover and manage these challenges. Time and speed are frequent challenges for me.
Mt. Hale though, at 4054 feet, is on the shorter side, and at only 2.2 miles of trail, this mountain gives us good reason to feel confident. These advantages are ones we didn’t have on the Washington hike, and we’re all feeling optimistic. Of course, underestimating any of the 4K mountains is foolish, but perhaps that is a part of the challenge.
Personally, I don’t think I’ll fail to appreciate how “hard” any mountain is, no matter what the challenges or advantages of a particular trek. Many times each step requires a high amount of focus, and on a mountain trail of two miles, it can mean 10,000 steps for me. That takes some serious concentration and attention. The upcoming Mt. Hale hike has no easy way down, and we are committed to the full trip, which means doubling that number of steps. At this point, there is a promise of glorious weather for our hike, but (the title of this post aside) you can never quite trust the weather in the Whites, and someday soon we will test that statement – hopefully not this round. Until then, though, I’ll simply salute all the 4,000s, and give a simple answer: they’re all hard! I’d be disappointed if they weren’t.