Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hike up Palmer Snowfield

We've been doing a fair bit of kayaking but haven't been exercising our legs much this spring, so we want to get out and do some hiking to help with that. We wanted to find out what kind of shape we were in for hiking. And we wanted to do a hike that would remind our legs what it was like to go uphill. So we decided to hike up the climbers trail from Timberline Lodge and just hike up the Palmer Snowfield until we got tired.

So on a beautiful Saturday in June we did just that. Our plan was to start early enough in the morning so that the snow was very firm, but late enough so it would be softer for the hike downhill. We left Timberline Lodge at 7:30 and started hiking up the climbers trail. The snow was perfect. Nice and firm, but not icy. It was sunny, cool, but not cold.

We hiked to the top of the Magic Mile and stopped for a break. We continued on and had a couple more breaks along the Palmer. Ended up stopping near the top of the Palmer. Kristin had some leg problems and I had a very sore right ankle and was starting to get blisters on the insteps of both of my feet. Just where I usually get blisters. Fine, this was intended to be an initial hike to figure out what we need to work on. So I need to figure out what's up with that ankle and remember to put moleskin on at the beginning of the hikes. We both had energy to keep going, which is encouraging.

We enjoyed talking with the people who had climbed the mountain earlier in the day and were hiking down. It sounded like a great day to climb. Cool and clear and not windy at night. Snow firm at dawn for summiting. Great views at the summit.

And it was entertaining to see how differently people were feeling. Some were perky and energetic and clearly were still having fun. Others... well, it looked like a death march for them. You could so easily feel the differences in their energies. Both the perky people and the exhausted ones inspired us to get into better hiking shape.

So we want to do this hike more times this summer. It's both a great training hike and has beautiful views. And since we'd like to climb Hood again sometime, this hike gives us a clear view of how close we are to being in good enough shape to do it. Once we get into better shape, we want to take the Bibler up and camp somewhere above the top of the Palmer. Carrying a backpacking pack up to say Illumination Saddle would help us get into better shape!

The hike down was easy. The snow had indeed softened making it easy on the joints going downhill. Got back to the car and headed home.

Notes for future such trips. Need gaitors, better sunglasses.

Date: 6/14/08
Start: 7:30
Back to car: 13:30
Time moving: 3 hr 10 min
Distance: 4.0 miles
Elevation gain: appr 2200 ft
Avg speed: 1.27 mph

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