humphreys peak area from a different direction. there is always more testing to do and i have been meaning to do either hesperus or handies peak in colorado but couldn’t squeeze the 18 to 20 hours of driving into this weekend so i headed back up to flag for a day.
going from 2000 feet up to 12000 then back down to 2000 again in one day could wreak havoc on your system but i didn’t have a problem. staying properly hydrated or hyper hydrated and taking wilderness athlete altitude advantage kept me squared away. i didn’t have any signs or symptoms of altitude sickness at all.
i wore these lowa tibet gtx boots on this trip and they are still a top notch choice for long hauls and heavy loads. they are very good all the way around but exceptionally comfortable and supportive around the ankle. that is because of the way the collar is constructed and the ability to lace the upper and lower laces independently. not as good in the wet or as luxerious as the hanwags mountain lights but a great mountain boot in its own right and it is available in a wide version which makes it a viable alternative for a lot of people.
ok, i will freely admit it and anyone that has ever left a trail head with me will tell you that I am no speed demon. i can go all day and all night with larger than average pack loads but i am not going to set any land speed records getting to my destination. i am ok with that. i am slow butt (pun intended) sure.
add altitude into the equation and my plow horse performance becomes even more pronounced. my secret weapons to combat this additional but invisable burden are a good playlist, the rest step, and a wilderness athlete super man drink (mix of hydrate & recover, energy & focus and water). the super man has become an important part of my system. it is summit fuel for those who love climbing mountains but are built for the flat lands. it just works really well for me.
to give you an idea of how much i use, i left the truck at 0800 with 132 ounces of liquid in my pack. that was 100 ounces of water and a 32 ounce nalgene bottle of three quarter strength super man. i got back to the trail head after 14 miles and 3800 feet of vertical elevation gain at 1930 the same day completely empty. i had run out of everything about an hour earlier and was dry when i put the tailgate down. just so you know, even though i miscalculated how much i should have carried, my internal tanks were full when i left the truck and i over hydrate when i am out there so i was still in good shape. however, if i had found myself in a situation where i had to bivvy overnight i would have had to come up with a solution like making water from old snow that is still on the mountain. not ideal but certainly doable because i am prepared and equipped for those eventualities. the lesson is that i need to carry more water up there in the summer months. at least another 32 ounces.
the inreach unit worked very well which is a good thing because i was out of cell coverage for most of the way. can’t wait to get the new se model in the field though. it could be a game changer that replaces the my trusty spot 2. hey, here is a tip. cell phones have become a staple in everyday life which means they accompany us into the backcountry too. you should know that when the coverage gets weak the phone works harder ie uses more power trying to maintain a connection even when you are not using it. my practice and suggestion to you is to turn it off completely in those situations. that way you have more battery power when you really need it without having to carry a spare or some other means of recharging. besides, you are out there to get away from the rat race aren’t you?