(At one point I thought I would get lucky!)
Well, it is safe to say I jinxed myself last night when I mentioned the predicted weather change.
If you could only hear the moan I let out when I stumbled out of my bedroom to be greeted with "Hey...it is snowing on the mountains...look!".
I tried to see the mountains and literally could not see a damn thing past the tops of the lower level of trees. Nothing but fog..mist..and snow.
The sun tried to come out a little before noon and that is when I decided to make my final attempt. Unlike yesterday, today I looked like I was heading to Antarctica or something. Long pants, two layers of shirts, buff, gloves, and my Summit waist/leg belt. Along with me I packed 2 water bottles, 2 gels, an extra cover up and phone. I was not sure how much of an effort the weather was going to require of me, so instead of the chicken I ate before yesterdays run I only ate a Cliffbar this morning. So far so good!
(You could not even see her from the water!)
I was actually surprised at how good the trail conditions were considering all the rain @ 9,600 ft. Yesterday, my Speedcross had some trouble on all the dry rock but today they took to the mud like a champ! I was surprised at what good time I made to where I left off yesterday. As I continued to go further the summit got closer and closer. I could not believe it!
(Ideal conditions at the start)
AND that is when the weather changed. I have to be honest. I was above 11,000 ft when I saw snowflakes really start to pick up, but I have never seen things get bad so quick. What was even weirder was that I think I *heard* it before I even saw it change. The roar of the wind coming down the mountain was insane. That was literally all you could hear before everything would go white. It was a friggin white out people! The sharpness in the air took my breath away and stung my skin like you would not believe. The temperature dropped so low at one point that my hands (which I kept in gloves) got too cold to operate the IPhone, making photos impossible past a certain point because we all know the phone won't work unless you have a special glove...which I do not :(
(I was so close....the end was just up there...I swear!)
(And then I was told to turn around ;) )
Anyway, it was at this point that I made the decision to turn around. While I really wanted to kiss that beautiful mountain on the lips....I ended up kissing the butt instead. I will say though, the amount of respect I gained for the mountain in a very very short amount of time was incredible. She truly is a part of Mother Nature....and like a mother...she will guide you and support you, even giving encouragement....but when she decides it is time for you to go home.....you will know it! I got a stern lesson today! When I got back down to around 9,600 ft and turned around I could not see where I was coming from. That was a clear indicator to me that I successfully listened to my instincts but at the same time got to experience something very special!
I may not have made it the whole 12,988 ft but I feel on top of the world and would do it again in a heartbeat. Up until the time I had to turn around, the trip up was very enjoyable. The ease at which my body was able to navigate is a good sign that my training methods throughout the week were on target. While at one point my legs started to go numb from the wind and temperature change, I am pretty confident that I could have made it to the top if the snow and wind had not picked up. Until the end there was no real point where I was too hot or cold. I had plenty of hydration and gels, as I only ended up using one water bottle. All in all....I made good decisions the whole time and for that I am grateful.
I will be back to conquer it again. I can't say I consider this an "Epic Fail" because I have experienced so much this week. I am also glad that I focused on one area. I really was able to see the true beauty of the mountain each time I went up, and was able to see her in all conditions....both when happy and not so happy :)
For now...that is it. I am happy. I head home tomorrow and until then I basically have nothing to do....which is a very nice thing. I may get out and wonder around a little bit.
(I failed at the selfie...could not get one once the weather started...but you can see how windy it was!)
OH...and man to I wish I had taken a picture. About 1/2 hour before I decided to turn around the wind and snow were picking up. I swear to G*d...I turned around and saw a gentleman running in nothing but a windbreaker and shorts. When I turned around about 2 minutes later he was gone. I can only imagine that he either turned around or shot up a hill before the trail I was on. I am kind of worried. He was not prepared at all. He looked to be making a good speed but I am left with a queasy feeling because he never caught up to be for me to make sure with my own eyes that he was OK. I can only hope he is used to this weather and is perfectly fine...all dry and warm from his run. At one point...I really did think I was seeing things...but I swear he was there! As for the rest of the photos I took....just check the FB...I am too lazy to upload them all here :)