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Almost to the top Todd
... that's my nickname since I've been back in Arizona
So it turns out that adjusting to higher elevations is not terribly easy when you’ve been living down much closer to sea level for 5 years. I arrived back in Arizona at the end of October and this was the 2nd hike (the first was Huachuca peak with Kelly the week after I got back) where I ended up stopping just short of my intended goal, but still got up to near (or over) 8000’ above sea level.
For this hike, I had a Saturday (November 19th) to myself while Kelly was in Texas, so I decided to hike up Miller Canyon, with a goal of reaching crest trail.
It was kind of a cool day, so I layered up with a sweatshirt and a thinner zip collar long-sleeve shirt underneath. I also brought plenty of water, some almonds, and a couple of clif bars. I didn’t head up to the trailhead until nearly 10am. I actually could have walked from the house, but it would have added and extra 2 1/2 miles and 500’ of elevation change.
I did see two other groups of hikers out on the trail shortly after starting up. But for the next 6 hours or so this was absolutely a solo hike. I felt pretty good about things for the first couple of miles, but then I remembered that I’d been working the night shift the previous week and had been drinking a few too many diet Mtn Dews and probably not nearly enough water. Hydration is important all the time, not just on the day of the hike.
It’s funny now looking back, but at the start of the day I was terribly optimistic and thought that maybe if I was feeling really good and made really good time I might even try to go to Miller Peak (which doesn’t look quite a daunting when you’re already up at about 7500’). In the end, due to a lack of daylight, there was not way that was going to happen. I did however make it up about 8400’ and was treated to some pretty spectacular views from up in the pines.
That being said, shortly after I took the picture above, I hit a physical wall. My legs were burning and my lungs were also not terribly happy with me. Looking at the AllTrails map that I’d downloaded I could see that I probably only had another couple hundred yards to get to Crest Trail (where I’d be able to see the other side of Huachucas and into Mexico). But it was also pretty steep still and my body was just screaming no. Even though I could “hear” Kelly in my head telling me that I was so close I had to keep going, I decided to turn around …
And promptly scared the crap out of myself when I got dizzy and had trouble walking down the hill. Mind you, and this point I still had almost 4 miles back to my car, and I wasn’t even completely sure what the daylight situation would be by the time I got there. Fortunately I had plenty of water and one more Clif Bar left, so I had a sit down for a snack. This ended up helping quite a bit and I was able to make my way back down the trail before it got dark.
All in all, this was a great way to spend a Saturday on my own. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I took a nice hot salt bath as soon as I got back to the house, then was asleep by about 6:30.
p.s. back on the weekend I took this hike I posted many more pictures and a few videos on our Facebook Page … feel free to click over and check it out.
This is probably our last post of 2022 (although I may have to add one more update to Kelly's 52 Hikes post (she’s at 54 now, but may do something in Tucson tomorrow). My goal for 2023 is to find a good way to use Facebook and Substack to find a nice balance for sharing pictures and stories. Also hope to share some articles that readers might find interesting and informative. Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas for things you might like to see.
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