Saturday, August 8, 2015

Isolation via Huntington Ravine Trail, Davis Path, Glen Boulder, etc. August 6, 2015

Tuckerman Ravine Trail, Huntington Ravine Trail, Alpine Garden Trail, Lawn Cutoff, Davis Path, Glen Boulder Trail, Direttissima.

15.5 miles with 5400 feet of elevation gain.

The good news -- the girls finally got to climb Huntington Ravine Trail.  The bad news -- I sprained my ankle on the way down Glen Boulder Trail, about 2.3 miles from the car.  The not-so-bad news -- I should be fine within weeks...hopefully in time to climb Idaho's Borah Peak.  We'll see.

It was a great day with crazy weather.  We started out not knowing if we'd need to turn back before reaching the headwall.  The NOAA forecast predicted no rain...yet the skies looked interesting.

We began the day on Tuckerman Ravine Trail at 6:30am.  A kind lady took this photo.

We walked as quickly as we could since we were eager to experience Huntington Ravine Trail.

1.2 miles later, here we are...2.1 more miles to go until we reach the top of the headwall.

The lower parts of HRT take you through trees and over water.  There are more than a few scenic spots.

We reached the First Aid cache that is dedicated to Albert Dow.  Alex and Sage are well aware of the significance of this area, and we spent some time in reflective conversation.  They know, they understand.  They have great respect for Mr. Dow, and for all members of Search and Rescue.

By the way, Alex noticed there is graffiti on that building, and one of the names scratched there is "Alex."  The person who did that is NOT our Alex -- this was the first time the girls have visited this area -- and neither of my girls would ever deface a building, let alone that particular building.

Once in the ravine, you reach a boulder field, through which you must climb/wind your way up until you arrive at the fan.

Interesting sky...

We reached the fan...and part of it was wet.  This is the trickiest part of the hike, at least for me (I did this hike with a friend last month, so I knew what to expect).  I climbed halfway up to test for grip and decided the girls could handle it.  This was the only wet portion of the trail up the headwall.  However -- if you are new to hiking, and/or if you are uncomfortable with tricky scrambles and/or heights, then I strongly advise that you do this trail only if it is a bright and sunny day, and only when the rocks are bone dry.

The girls made their way up.  I have photos of only two sections  -- the rest of the time, I needed to use both my hands and couldn't get to my iPhone.  If you do a Google search on Huntington Ravine Trail, you will find many photos of the various scrambles and chimneys up the headwall.  We happily managed all of them (with care).  Below are my only photos...wish I could have gotten more.

We topped out on Alpine Garden Trail around 9:30am.  It was WINDY and cold.  We had been protected from the wind and chill while climbing HRT.

After layering up, we walked the Alpine Garden Trail and made our way to Davis Path via the Lawn Cutoff.  Normally, this hike has outstanding views.  Today, however, we had Cloud.  Also, twenty minutes after arriving at the top of the headwall, it started raining.  Our hike basically looked like this until we reached treeline on the Davis Path...

We felt the wind full blast as we passed the intersection with Glen Boulder Trail.  The girls each got blown off their feet a couple of times (they enjoyed the experience).

The fog started to clear just as we reached treeline (of course!).

Isolation is in the fog.

Once below treeline, we marveled at how much easier it is to walk when you don't have gusts of wind slamming into you every other second.

I captured some goofy moments...

Heading down Davis Path...

Sage needed North Isolation for her Trailwrights 72 list.  The summit isn't marked, so we stood on all the high bits in the appropriate area and took a bunch of photos.  This is one of those photos.


Iced Cookies on Isolation for our Desserts on the 48 quest!

We had hiked 8.9 miles with about 4000 feet of elevation gain.  Once fed and rested, we headed back up the Davis Path, hiking another 2.8 miles and regaining 1400 feet of elevation to the intersection with Glen Boulder Trail.  The sun was out and we now had views above treeline.  The wind was still fierce, though.

View toward the southern Presidentials
We reached the intersection with Glen Boulder Trail and headed down.

We paused and ate chocolate on Slide Peak.

Continuing down, we reached Glen Boulder.

A few minutes after taking the above photo, I turned my right ankle while descending a slanted boulder.  There was a SNAP followed by pain.  The girls rushed to my side, and I panicked for a second, thinking they weren't going to be careful with their own footing and that we'd soon have three injured hikers instead of one.  I told them thank you, but their one and only job was to look after themselves, as I was now not in a good position to help them if they became injured.  I drank a sip of water, then began crab-walking (with one leg) down the rest of the boulder section.  Alex found an abandoned walking stick soon after we reached treeline, and I used that as a crutch.

Our remaining 2.3 miles took forever, but I was able to walk as long as I held my ankle firmly in one position.  I did not want to stop to wrap it, I just wanted to go go go.  I knew adrenaline was keeping the pain away, and I wanted to get to the car...I did NOT want to call Search and Rescue.  SAR is full of wonderful people, but I am a strong believer in self-rescue if at all possible.  The girls were warm, we had food and water with us, and, if it came to it, they could get back down to the parking lot on their own.  I therefore hobbled out with the help of the stick, and with the constant encouragement of both my daughters.  Alex and Sage were great, they really were.

We eventually made it back to the car.  I took off my shoes and socks, and....

 Hmmm..not good.  Driving wasn't an issue as long as I didn't flex the ankle (instead, I lifted the entire foot with my leg).  When I got home, all I wanted to do was drink a beer and go to that's what I did.  The next morning, I got X-Rays.  It's a torn ligament, with a bit of bone pulled off for good measure.  The cure -- rest, wrap, and elevate.  I should be good to go again within a few weeks.  Maybe sooner, maybe later, we'll see.

Temporarily out of order

All in all, it was a great day with much fun.  I'm glad we did this -- we were planning on a Presidential Traverse next week, and, since the girls handled this hike with relative ease, I am pretty sure we can handle that kind of massive dayhike.  However, that now that needs to wait until my ankle heals...we hope to do the traverse in late September or October.

Depending on my ankle, we may do a small 4K late next week.  We'll take it slowly and see how it goes.


Beckie Jani said...

Hi Trish, I hope you are feeling better and that ankle heals soon! If it's not too personal, may I ask how tall the girls are? My daughter Prema is 5 ft tall, I am just under 4'11'. We hope to redline someday, but I was wondering if Shorty here could get up Huntington (Prema has longer legs, she has little trouble). I enjoyed the photos.

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

Hi Beckie,

Sage is 5 feet tall, Alex is just over 5 feet. They had more trouble than I did on certain bits where the handholds required extra reach (for them), so I do think being tall (I am 5'10") has its advantages. That being said, neither of them required a boost from me, so it's doable..but perhaps extra tricky if you are under 5'5'. Hope this helps.

Beckie Jani said...

Thanks, Trish! That is encouraging!