Course clearing means picking up the metal markers and any ribbons and trash along the course.
Most people who are looking to summit Handies start from American Basin, but we start down on the County Road 2, where the Grouse Gulch Aid Station was located. It's a steep climb up from this direction.
Me and the trail out of Grouse Gulch do not seem to get along.
I have exactly the same symptoms as I had when Cam, Slim, and Eric hiked this in 2012. It was a cool morning, at about 730 am. I had my breathing mask with me, that I also wore overnight while pacing Gombu.
Same symptoms. I immediately start the climb, hard to breathe, pulse rate elevated. The group gets away from me right away. I resolve to not let this bother me. Same actions. Climb, climb, stop, breathe. I don't know what it is with this valley, but it doesn't agree with me.
The views agree with me though!
As it warms up, I can at least remove my mask and top layer of clothes. It's still a slow slog up.
I DNF'd Hardrock 2012 at Grouse Gulch. As I climb up, I reflect that was the best decision I could have made. I would have probably been clocking a 60 minute mile, given my fatigue factor and health. I actually felt much better about that spot that I DNF'd in.
Next landmark is Sloan Lake.
This was as far as I hiked back in 2012. The rest of the climb up Handies is new territory for me!
Almost to the top here.
I could really feel the descent in my quads, despite only running downhill for about four miles 24 hours previously.
Once you descend off Handies, it's a nice piece of actual runnable trail! This is Grizzly Gulch Lake Trail.
Now I will hop into our 4WD vehicle with our expert driver, Michelle, and take the road over Cinnamon Pass!
I knew by dropping at Sherman that my ride would be over Cinnamon Pass. I had read up on this drive a bit, when we were trying to find a driver to go over the Pass. Despite me being terrified on Bird Camp Road in 2012, I was not terrified on the drive over Cinnamon Pass.
|Pic from http://www.summitpost.org/scenic-road/671577|
I have to admit that Cinnamon Pass was kinda fun. It didn't hurt that Michelle gave us a beer before we started, so that helped to relax me!
Views from Cinnamon Pass
Michelle drops me off in town, and I am happy to get back to the hostel and take a shower. After some food, I just crashed- the lack of sleep, HR miles and lack of altitude acclimatization just cooked me-I slept twelve hours that night!