now where was I?
oh yes. we were at the saddle about to begin our final quest for the summit, when all of the sudden nature came a-calling. oh no! the thought of relieving myself in these parts seemed a little, um, daunting to say the least. but, whether you're in the comfort of your own home or roughing it on a 12,000 ft. mountain, when you gotta go, you gotta go.
I scout around in earnest for an inconspicuous spot off the trail, praying I don't startle anyone else mid-stream. but every place I came across that looked to be a desirable dumping spot, it seemed someone else had already thought the same, as was evidenced by the unpleasant aromas wafting about and used TP hastily stuffed under nearby rocks. didn't they know the rule? pack it in, pack it out. (just kidding. that would be the day I packed out my used toilet paper. ish.)
it's hard to be choosy when you're desperate. so I settle for an already been used spot, quickly determine there are no other squatters taking up residence and open the flood gates. the view was nice, anyway. and I hoped that most hikers were preoccupied with other views along the trail at that time.
that taken care of, I was ready to blast off again.
almost there! I was giddy with excitement. but when I reached the top, it wasn't really The Top. there was still more to go. gasp. you've got to be kidding. there should be a law against these false summits. (I'll have to have another word with Mr. Humphrey regarding that.) so, on I hustled trudged.
victorious! even though I lost most of my fingertips from frostbite. (jk. it's the harsh lighting causing that. although it was freezing.) and good thing there wasn't a beauty contest going on. I surely would've lost. I think beach babe/biker babe meets mountain woman is a fairly accurate description of this photo. or what? yeesh.
Ruth and Mark in the "hot tub" at the top. there were rock walls built up in a circle providing shelter from the wind, and someone had dubbed it the "hot tub", although, believe me, it was a far cry from that. these two just did a canyon hike recently so they were definitely more skilled than I.
the wind was bone-chilling and gusting at 50-60 mph. twice, it almost blew me over but I managed to regain my footing. I had snot and spit flying off my face. gross, I know. I tried to capture the wind with this photo of Ruth's pants. they were flapping violently and it looked quite hysterical, really. Heather had her baby along as well...she did awesome! didn't hear a peep from her at all. ("her" being the baby, that is ;) although I probably wouldn't have squawked either if I got to ride on someone's back.
and so we began our 4.8 mile descent.
I took a few more scenery shots on the way down, more as an excuse to rest, if anything.
lots of green foliage. and trees. and is this trail ever going to end? my legs were exhausted and I wondered if someone could just carry me out on a stretcher. or would I be left for dead if I chose to collapse now? keep it going. one foot in front of the other.
so that being out of the way, where can we go chow?
it was a most delicious ending, indeed.