Training Hike and #TryingStuff Volume I: Chasm Lake

Of the few people that read my satirical post about hiking being horrible, I think most of them thought I was joking. But in reality, the joke’s on them! I really do not like hiking, and if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve probably told you as such many, many, numerous times. I just don’t get it.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have to do it. If I want to alpine climb, there’s usually a long approach: hiking. If I want to go winter camping, it’s not very fun to camp right at the car. So, hike (snowshoe). This winter, I hope to con someone/people into taking me backcountry snowboarding. More snowshoeing/hiking because I don’t have a split board. And if someone invites me on their weekend backpacking trip, guess what, I need to keep up. More hiking in my life.

Who disappeared the mountains?
Who disappeared the mountains?

As much as I may dislike hiking, it’s always going to be a part of what I do outdoors. And as I learned on a failed attempt at the Grand Teton, I need to be in hiking condition so that I’m still physically capable of doing the climb once I get there.

Now, with all that pish posh out of the way, I forced myself to go on a hike on Sun. Alone. Something else I never do because I can’t motivate myself to do so and because I’m an extrovert to the max. I did it anyway. In order to do this, I just needed to get into the frame of mind that this hike is a “training” hike. Because I will do a lot of things in the name of training, in order to be able to perform better at a more “important” activity. I guess every hike will be a “training hike” from here on out.

I really wanted climb Mt. Audubon, but the trail head was already closed for the season, adding an additional 3+ miles (one way) to the hike. No way. Instead of climbing a mountain, I decided to drive a bit further to the Longs Peak trail head and hike to Chasm Lake.

The weather said it would be mid-twenties, a sustained 15 mph wind with 35+ mph gusts, and 1-3 inches of snow. I was excited! With that combination, I thought for sure it would get down to the low tens of degrees (if not lower) with the windchill. Perfect conditions to try out my new OmniTen gear.

To start the hike, I was wearing my Columbia base layer, lined with their OmniHeat technology, my Arc’Teryx Beta AR pants as windproof, and a Nike DriFit t-shirt. That’s it. But I did have another layer of insulation (top and bottom) and the Columbia Millenium Flash shell for windproof in my pack just in case. I also had a hat lined with OmniHeat.

This is how I normally feel about hiking.
This is how I normally feel about hiking.

I started the hike hot ‘n heavy. Way too hot ‘n heavy. I needed to slow my pace about a half-mile into it. By the end of mile 2, I was bored out my gourd (as per usual). So then I tried something else new: I listened to music.

I don’t know if I’m more annoyed that I listened to music, or that I liked listening to music.

But either way, the hike went a lot better!

The weather conditions held true to the forecast. In fact, it got so windy and snowy that Longs Peak and Mt. Meeker literally disappeared. However, I never did put on anymore layers except the hat. The OmniHeat base layers (with a little windproof help on the lower half) were fine enough, especially with the hat. That’s one benefit of being really “hot blooded”, but now I’m going to have to wait until the temps drop even more to try out the OmniHeat Millenium shell. Other than in-bound snowboarding, I’m not sure when I’ll get to wear the insulated pants they sent too. I can already tell those suckers are going to be hot!

So, yes, I hiked. Yes, I went alone. Yes, I listened to music. Yes, I wore my first set of Columbia’s technical winter-wear. And yes, I think I might find myself doing this again. It wasn’t completely horrible. Just don’t think I’ll be cancelling “better” plans (like I mentioned in the beginning) in order to hike.

Oh, and I made it to Chasm Lake and back (8.5 miles) in 4 hours, including breaks. Eh. Not too bad for someone that despises this game, right? 😉

Chasm Lake in snow
Longs Peak is only a hundred yards away or so, but you still can’t see the peak. Nifty, eh?


Don’t Miss Your Chance

I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.

Then I took control.

You can too, and it starts right here.

2 responses to “Training Hike and #TryingStuff Volume I: Chasm Lake

  1. “And as I learned on a failed attempt at the Grand Teton, I need to be in hiking condition so that I’m still physically capable of doing the climb once I get there.”

    I’m pretty sure the failure part was the hiking into a thunderstorm. Not your fitness.

    1. So, maybe my fitness didn’t cause the thunderstorm, but I was less than physically stoked about climbing, had we been able to. Haha!

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