So, I've been off air a little due to my father in law passing away. As you can imagine, things have been a little difficult. However, it did give us the opportunity to go over to the US to be with my wife's family, and to go up to the North Cascade mountains for a week.
There is an amazing village up there at the end of a lake. You can only get there by boat or sea plane. The village is called Stehekin, and my wife's family, settled up there at the turn of the century. It is such a beautiful and remote place, which means there are some amazing peaks up there, but utterly devoid of humans! I did a mountaineering trip up there for 5 days with a friend and my wife, and in 5 days didn't see a sole! The mountain we hiked this time is Called McGregor (8122 ft / 2476 m) with about 6500 ft of elevation gain from the trail head. (By the way apologies for the white background starting here.......I simply could not find a way to get ride of it from the text!!!!)
Once we started hiking, I quickly warmed up nicely.......that Super Thermo shirt looks so crazy but works so well! The first few miles was through forest, and we had talked about what to do if we saw a bear, but that was about it. So when we heard a rustling in the bushes, my wife and future brother in law both looked up to see a Black Bear about 50ft away. We all froze, let him pass, and then carried on the trail very carefully. Now Black bears normally do not present much of a threat unless you come across a mother with cubs, or you startle one, so I was pretty happy there was not much of a threat. However, I was keeping a very close eye out for rattle snakes, and we had just heard the day before that there was a mountain lion in the area....Nice! In order to give the bears plenty of notice that we were coming, my wife had me singing pretty much the whole way up the dam mountain! This then turned into a game of "name that tune". We must have been a pretty strange couple to my future brother in law, who we had just met a week before the hike.
Not that big of a problem, but I really didn't fancy coming down it. It was really loose nasty stuff. Needless to say, we were in the wrong place. My wife's grandmother had climbed the mountain in "penny loafers" (what ever they are, but they sound pretty crap!), and reminded us of this the morning we set out.
There was of course a goat path (not the same goat that got eaten by the mountain lion.....assumed to have be eaten by the mountain lion!), and we could not see it. After about half an hour of messing about in the gully and much consternation, my wife suggested we go back to the scree slope, look up and try and find the path (marked by red arrows as we had found the first pointing towards the gully!).
Well blow me down if we didn't just stumble right across it! We flew up the remaining scramble to the top and where absolutely thrilled!
If you look at the end of the snow field, in the above picture, you may just make out the two of us (my FBiL though we were crazy to attempt it......but fortunately, I have enough experience from 15 years in the oil industry to tell me when something is really stupid!).
So here I am at the summit, with Glacier Peak in the background over my right shoulder. We had lunch at the top, and I threw on my wind-breaker. It was all I needed because the Brynje Super Thermo kept my body dry, and warm all the way up. You really appreciate the mesh shirt when you stop, because you dry so quickly, and hence only have to throw on a thin layer, if anything at all. This was a new feature for me since most of the stuff I'd used it for was continuous training previously. The temperature on the way ranged from about 8C - 20C during the day, and the mesh had no problem dealing with this (granted, I used a wind-breaker at times).
So from now on, this will be my standard summer hiking kit:
- Brynje Super Thermo C-Shirt,
- thin wicking layer like a cycling top or Brynje multisport shirt(this layer MUST have a zip to vent)
- wind-breaker (or full waterproof jacket if hiking in the UK!)