Saturday, November 17, 2012

Option Four (Wolverine Peak)

WorkoutWolverine Peak! Well, part of it, at least.

So which option did I end up choosing? None of them, actually. That's how I roll: make plans and don't follow through!

I actually woke up intending to do the "2.5-mile straight uphill" hike over in Eagle River with my hiking group, but as I walked Bailey, I realized it was cold as hell (8 degrees at that point) and would likely be much colder on a windy ridge. I wasn't really excited at the prospect of freezing for 5+ hours, so I decided not to beat myself up over it and just do something else. I had made up my mind to run my planned 4 miles instead and was trying to decide where I wanted to do them when suddenly it popped into my head: screw running, let's go to Wolverine!

I hiked Wolverine a couple of months ago without Bailey, and pretty much the whole time I was out there I was thinking how much she would enjoy it (we have a very unhealthy co-dependent relationship). I vowed to take her there at some point but never really had the opportunity. The second the idea came into my mind this morning, the plan was made. Onward!

Because of that ridiculous show I'm obsessed with, I didn't start hiking until 11:45. That gave me about four hours until it started getting dark, which I figured was plenty of time.

Obligatory creek photo

It was absolutely gorgeous out, but almost immediately it started snowing. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love snow. I love hiking in snow. However, I'm not extremely comfortable with the idea of being alone at the top of a peak in the middle of a storm. It was very light snow at that point, but I knew it could turn into something ferocious in no time so I figured I'd keep going and play it by ear.

We went up, up, up, and it hit me again just how difficult it is hiking or running in snow. When I did this a couple of months ago, I kicked ass on the ascent, moving quickly and hardly stopping at all. This time, I was forced to stop and catch my breath more times than I'm willing to admit (wait a second, didn't I just admit it?)

It started snowing harder, and my effort level was much higher than expected, so I started to consider possibly turning around. I could see where I was heading, and it seemed the awesome views were going to be mostly obscured by clouds. I ran into quite a few people, though (all alone-I guess none of us had someone to tell us we were maybe being dumb?), and part of me wanted to prove my worth to these people who wouldn't give a shit whether I made it to the top or not. This seems to happen to me fairly often. Anyway, I decided to push on and see what happened.

THERE SHOULD BE MORE MOUNTAINS. See the snowflakes? 

You can very faintly see Wolverine back there.

As I was starting to go back and forth again on whether or not to turn around, I suddenly realized I was very near a natural rest stop beneath the ridge I was aiming for. I was hiking much slower than planned and wasn't sure I could even do the whole hike before it got dark, so I decided to make it there and call it a day.

You would never guess there is a thriving metropolis below.

I still got some pretty righteous views, even though I wasn't high enough to see back into the valleys behind the mountains.

Wolverine is that high point you see in the middle of the photo. Also, snowflakes.

And again-this time with a different instagram filter so I can fool you into thinking it looks completely different.

I am sort of pissed we missed the plane wreck, though.

Wolverine in warmer months. I'm not sure about the story behind the plane crash-I'd like to think no one died, but what do I know? It's still a pretty cool landmark.

We sat around for a while so I could eat a sandwich and Bailey could attempt to eat a gross tampon (WHY are dogs so into tampons? And how did she manage to find what was probably the only discarded tampon within a 10-mile radius? Funny that she can sniff one of those out but couldn't spot a moose if it was charging at her), and then headed on our merry way.

The ascent was pretty damn steep and took about two hours, but the descent was very pleasant. Steep initially, but nice and gradual for the last few miles. 


Roughly three hours after we started, we were done. It had started to snow harder, so I was very happy with my choice to turn around. I have to say, though, that it was SO peaceful walking through the woods while the snow fell. Peaceful enough that I was able to convince myself the bears have hibernated already so I could just focus on how great it felt to be outside.

My legs feel almost fully recovered now, and I'm still planning to run my four miles tomorrow. Had I gone all the way up, this would probably not be the case...

Enjoy your Saturday!

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