Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The 12th Hike

This past Sunday I managed to gather some pretty awesome people and climb Black Elk for the twelfth time this year.



[Note: "Twelfth" is a weird word to spell.]

It was possibly the last day of December that would be over 35 degrees and one of the few that I could manage a hike with others -- so plans were made and at 12:30, we met up at Sylvan Lake.

Yes. 12:30 is a late start to a December hike around here. Sunset was officially at 4:15, so we didn't really waste time getting up there.

That's right. I register. You only have to have one run-in with a ranger...

As it happened, it was a perfectly clear day and not too cold.



And a great day for some awkward tower selfies.




Naturally, I started to think about stats on this particular hike.

I've climbed the peak around 50 times total now over the course of about 22 years. 40% of those have been in the last five years.

This year, I managed to get six of the monthly hikes done in the last two days of the month. (Oops.)

Nine of them I did solo. Three (May, July and December) were with hiking buddies. Twice, I was alone in the tower at the top (February and November). Not coincidentally, those same two were the windiest days up there. (In November I dashed up, tagged Dr. M, and dashed back down. February had reminded me that it might not be safe to linger.)

Of my companions over the year, one had never climbed it, one hadn't been up in 28 years, two had climbed it within the last year and the other two had climbed it just a few weeks before.

I had three hikes that took less than 80 minutes to get to the top, and six more that took under 90. The three that took over ninety were February (ice), July (crowds and heat) and December (because we were enjoying ourselves instead of racing).

My least favorite was November, both because of the weather and because I was doing it just to get November's hike out of the way.

My favorites? Depends on the day. May had perfect weather and fantastic conversation. December was just plain fun. June was my fastest and I felt fantastic when I was done.

Mostly, though? I was excited I pulled it off. I fully expected to lose steam after April, or just plain forget a month. I expected summer to get in the way, or holidays, or weather. Really, what I didn't expect was to actually hit it all twelve months.

It called for a toast.


It might be awhile now before I get back up there. I think it's time to overhike some other trails...

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