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Gwen
LO Girl-of-the-Month



Joined: 14 Feb 2010
Posts: 1354 | TRs | Pics

Gwen
LO Girl-of-the-Month
PostMon Jul 16, 2012 12:28 pm 
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PiB: Ararat, Saturday.  Interested?
Me: Yes. What's the latest you're willing to leave?
PiB: How early is too early for you?
Me: Can we do 6:00?
PiB: 5:30. You can sleep while I drive.

4 hours sleep and PiB is right on time.  2.5 hours, 100+ miles, and a couple of coffee stops later and we're at the TH.  Run into Zachster and HikingQueen who are both on their way to do a little trail maintenance (hats off to you, ladies!), but other than that, the lot @ Kautz Creek is pretty empty.  A bit of futzing here and there and we're on the trail by 8:30.

The first mile-ish is a nice and easy leg stretcher - wake the body up, get the blood flowing, find the rhythm.
Cross Kautz Creek and the fun begins.  Steep (seriously, but not quite brutally) for the next mile or so, steeper, now aided by a couple (but not many) switchbacks, for the next mile-ish, easing off a bit for about 0.5 miles, then RFS (with some short tight switchbacks) for another 0.5 miles.  All of this is done under beautiful forest canopy and, for today, cloud cover.  Both of these helps keep things cooler but the high humidity works against us.  We're hot, sweating, and sucking down fluids like crazy.  Luckily, there are treasures in the forest to keep us distracted, things like saprophytes (lower down)
Saprophyte
Saprophyte
Bear grass and trail
Bear grass and trail
Weird fungus
Weird fungus
Bear grass
Bear grass

and patches of avalanche lilies (higher up),
Waking up
Waking up
Buttercup
Buttercup
Avalanche lilies
Avalanche lilies
Avalanche lilies
Avalanche lilies

a creek crossing (nice bridge, opportunity to dunk a hat or bandana in cool clear waters),
Clear, cool and refreshing
Clear, cool and refreshing

and snow (right around 4800' and a little over 4 miles in).
Early views
Early views

Once we hit snow, some route finding is necessary, first a little (because it is a little bit of snow - patchy - about mile 4.0), then a lot (can you guess? yes, a lot of snow - less patchy, more consistent - about mile 5.0).  The waypoints PiB has loaded into her GPS confirms we were staying on track.  Have to pull out the map at one point but quickly find our location and the track.  Pick up a hiking companion right about here as well - nice guy, happy as we are to be on the trail.
Avi lilies and paintbrush
Avi lilies and paintbrush
Western pasqueflower
Western pasqueflower
Nothing to look at
Nothing to look at
Nothing at all
Nothing at all
A room with a view
A room with a view

We pick our way up the trail (which is now consistently playing hide and seek) until around 5,600' and on the ESE side of Ararat.  Here, we leave the trail and start slogging our way steeply up the snow.
No views at all while huffing up Ararat
No views at all while huffing up Ararat

Our new companion chooses to join us.
Our new friend slogging up Ararat
Our new friend slogging up Ararat

By now, the sun is out and there are few trees to provide shade.  It's starting to get quite warm (PiB would say "HOT") and progress is made slowly.  None of us have stopped thus far for a rest or food (though I always munch on bars along the way) and we're feeling the effects of lacking proper fuel for the final push.  Quads are burning and more fluids are continually sucked down.  And then, we hit a high point, not the summit, but close, and with some shade.  Here is where we choose a short re-fuel break, give the quads a rest, put a couple calories in the body.

Rested and loaded, we don our packs and traipse the final couple-300 yards to tag the true summit (which doesn't have a view of the mountain that is god),
Summit shot
Summit shot

then head over to the bump with the fine campsite (which does have a view - IN YOUR FACE)
Yeah.
Yeah.

and take a load off for an all-too-brief lunch.  About 20 minutes of eating, drinking, chatting, and photographing and it's time to think about heading down.
Fun or folly?
Fun or folly?

There's still a long way to go (another 6-ish miles).
Clouds begin to gather
Clouds begin to gather
Zoom
Zoom
Did I mention all the avi lilies?
Did I mention all the avi lilies?

Our new companion chooses to stay on Ararat for a bit of a power nap, but PiB and I both know he'll pass us on the way down.  Down is hard for both of us - me with old knees and Pib with new knees.
Descent (my glissade track to the right)
Descent (my glissade track to the right)
Say buh-bye now
Say buh-bye now
Back on trail
Back on trail

The trip down is pretty direct, re-tracing footsteps through snow then cruising down trail.  What takes us about 5.5 hours up (which includes photo stops because we both take pictures) only takes us about 4 hours down.  We're back at the TH at 6:30 and on our way home by 7.

Another crappy trip with a crappy drive (pavement all the way, baby), crappy weather (cool and overcast in the morning clearing to beautiful blue skies with scattered clouds in the afternoon, thunderheads gathering just as we leave the summit but nothing comes of it),
Obscured by clouds
Obscured by clouds
The clouds prepare for battle in the dark and looming silence.
The clouds prepare for battle in the dark and looming silence.
Bruised and sullen storm clouds have the light of day obscured.
Bruised and sullen storm clouds have the light of day obscured.
Looming low and ominous
Looming low and ominous

crappy hike (nothing to look at but old trees, saprophytes, avalanche lilies, and in your face views of the mountain that is god),
Avi lily and false hellebore
Avi lily and false hellebore
Really folks, nothing at all to see here.
Really folks, nothing at all to see here.
Two-toned fern
Two-toned fern
Twin bells
Twin bells

and crappy company (PiB).
Tree hugger
Tree hugger

Yeah.  My life sux.

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Tomorrow's not promised to anyone, so be bold, scare yourself, attempt something with no guarantee of success. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve. -Olive McGloin
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the Zachster
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Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 4722 | TRs | Pics
Location: dog training
the Zachster
Member
PostMon Jul 16, 2012 12:55 pm 
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Crap! I didn't know that was you in the parking lot with Janet! doof.gif  I'm so sorry I didn't stop to say hello!

Glad you got up Ararat. That can be a brutal trip if it's hot. The Kautz trail was my first ever hike at MRNP and it nearly killed me! We knew nothing about hiking back then and just saw a trailhead sign and said let's do it! Knew nothing about elevation, mileage, etc... Wearing sneakers, blue jeans, no packs.... It pretty near killed me but I remember as I was gasping for breath I realized that I had just found my new calling. And I haven't stopped hiking since!  winksmile.gif

--------------
"May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am"
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Gwen
LO Girl-of-the-Month



Joined: 14 Feb 2010
Posts: 1354 | TRs | Pics

Gwen
LO Girl-of-the-Month
PostMon Jul 16, 2012 2:40 pm 
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the Zachster wrote:
Crap! I didn't know that was you in the parking lot with Janet! doof.gif  I'm so sorry I didn't stop to say hello!

No worries Z.  I didn't know it was you until you were gone and Janet clued me in!  It's been awhile since I last saw you at Sauer's Mtn.

That's a helluva first hike!  Glad it stuck with you!!!

--------------
Tomorrow's not promised to anyone, so be bold, scare yourself, attempt something with no guarantee of success. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve. -Olive McGloin
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