The Carpool Challenges are back now that school has started again. These shorter hikes to four thousand footers are part of my plan to keep me in shape for winter hiking with my partners (following an 11 year old around the Whites all summer doesn’t cut it for hiking with the big boys!) and more importantly for just getting out and enjoying the peaks. The routine is this: as soon as the children leave for school, I get into the car, drive up to the mountains, hike a 4K, then come home get cleaned up and pick them up from school on time. My time is limited, so the travel distance and the length of hike is limited, too, but these hikes are better than nothing!
For this school year’s first CC, I went to Jackson last week. I couldn’t go on the first day of school due to other obligations (getting groceries to feed the family is sort of important!), so I went on Thursday. I made really good time up and down Jackson and it was just as I remembered it from my last trip in April, minus a lot of water and mud. Along the ride to the trailhead and once I got to the higher elevations, I noticed that some of the vegetation was already showing signs that summer was coming to an end, with the grasses already turning brown.
It was also pretty windy, with winds in the lower 30mph range which were ideal conditions to test out a new jacket that I’m field testing for EMS. They contacted me and sent me the jacket for free and of course I need to give my honest opinion of the product, good or bad. As far as this little test, the jacket worked nicely. I was already pretty sweaty and damp, so going out into the wind without a jacket was not a good idea . This jacket is a soft shell type jacket smooth on the outside and brushed fuzzy on the inside, and lightweight with a trim cut to be a good layering piece with other jacket components in colder conditions. In today’s test, I put it on before emerging from the safety of the scrub near the last ledges before the junction with the Webster Cliff Trail. Out in the wind, I was still warm and comfortable inside the jacket, even though my shirt was still damp. I left the jacket on for a bit while descending, but quickly got too warm (even with the nice extra long pit zips). Depending on the temperature and wind conditions, this jacket may be used for actual hiking or just quick stops. For right now, it being carried as part of my standard gear to put on if I’m stopped and getting cold or if the wind picks up. I’m sure I’ll have more opportunity to test this piece on future hikes, and form the rest of my opinions on the product and do more complete review. The rest of the hike was pretty quick and uneventful, and I only passed a few people on their way up.
For the second CC, I went to Tecumseh yesterday. I’ve hiked this one quite a bit in the last year, and so this trip will be my last for a while. It was like visiting an old friend, and catching up on what is new. I think I saw some new rock work in addition to the already nice rock work higher up on the trail and the rerouted section down low is settling in nicely. I met a few other hikers on this trip, including a gentleman, Tom, who was hiking his first four thousand footer! We hiked together up to the viewpoint, and then I scooted up the next section to the summit. I took a nice break at the summit and was almost ready to leave when Tom arrived, summitting his first 4K. He did a great job getting there and should be proud of his efforts for the day. I hope he’ll keep on hiking. I hiked out for a bit with another hiker, and after a break we parted ways and I headed back to the car. Fun day, on a familiar trail and getting to meet and chat with other hikers!
Looks like next week will be a nice week, so I’ll be out again, somewhere!