Tabitha, an acquaintance from grad school whom I hadn't seen in several years, invited me to join her and her friend on this hike. I read the description and immediately said "sure, I'll do it!" I was sure that I was in good enough shape to handle all that climbing. (little did I think, however, that it would be the decending that would lick me)
The friend bailed out the night before, but Tab and I agreed to continue with our plans to meet at 7am to start hiking. It was a gorgeous morning-- cool enough that a light fleece felt good to start off, and still and quiet, with blue skies dotted with my favorite white ploofy clouds. I lbeing in the woods early in the morning! Good thing, because the glorified goat trail we set off hiking was not at all friendly. Had it been super hot, or raining hard, I would've easily bagged the trip. But there was no excuse not to walk. My lungs were working well, my legs felt strong, the day was gorgeous, and I was psyched to catch up with Tabitha, since we hadn't seen each other in several years.
Our trail shot up. Straight up. No switchbacks. No gradual gains. Nope, it was tougher than any StairMaster workout I've tried! We took a nice steady pace, though, and just continued to put one foot in front of the other for about an hour, until we popped out of the trees and got our first glimpse of how much elevation we'd gained. A few minutes later and we got our first good view of Great Northern. Holy cow, that's a big hunk of rock!!!