Sunday, January 19, 2014

I think I've learned some things in the last year - Crabby Appleton (Card #20)

A little over a year ago, on January 5, 2013, I attempted my first hike with Hiking Las Vegas.  It was Oak Creek Overlook for the 4 of Clubs.  I say attempted, because I did not make it to the peak =(  Now, to be fair, I was getting over a nasty respiratory flu and was having terrible times with congestion and breathing.  

However, I just really had no idea what I was getting myself into.  The type of hiking that the people in this group were doing was unlike anything I'd ever done or seen done in my life.  I thought hiking was just walking on a trail and stopping to look at trees and waterfalls.  Yeah.....that may be hiking, but it isn't Hiking Las Vegas.  

The day I first hiked with Hiking Las Vegas was an incredible learning experience.  And, I haven't stopped learning since.  Every time I go out and I use my scrambling and rope skills and reach a new peak, I am so thankful for all the people who have taught me the hiking skills and continue to instill me with this new education.

Okay, I do have a point, I promise.  Last weekend, I hiked to Crabby Appleton Peak for the 5 of Diamonds.  This was a hike that, from the pictures, has intimidated me for the last year.  It starts with a long approach hike through the desert and then up a shoot that isn't technical, but it is pretty steep, so it takes a lot out of you.  Once you reach the saddle, the real fun begins:

First, we scrambled up this short crack in the rocks, using a rope that one of the organizers installed himself!
Once up that short, tricky spot, it was time to walk this incredible ridge line.  It was wider than it looks (these pictures were taken from the top), but the drops are approximately 800+ feet on each side.  Very intimidating.

As if the ridge wasn't intimidating enough, there was still one more obstacle between me and the peak. You reach a point on the ridge line that is blocked by a giant boulder.  At this point, you're faced with two options.  Option A, you can do a scramble up the boulder that would be super easy if it was 3 feet off the ground....however, it is 800+ feet off the, I declined that option.  Instead, I opted to use another rope and "hand-line" around the obstacle.
After I got off the rope, we walked up the ridge until we arrived at the peak.  The day was gorgeous.  We just laid in the sun while waiting for the other groups to join us.  It was so wonderful to have all of my hiking friends in the same place.  It was such a good day fitness-wise and mental health wise.
Of course, getting to the peak is only half of the hike.  Getting back down is often more intimidating to me than climbing up.  Especially, the rope around the obstacle.  But, I did it with flying colors, if I do say so myself =)

and when I got to the other side, I looked at what I had done, and exclaimed "It's almost like I learned something in the last year!!"  ... and I really have =)

I don't think many, if any, of my hiking friends read this blog.  But, just in case you do, I want you all to know how much you've changed my life for the better.  I've learned countless lessons from every person with whom I've hiked.  You are such important people in my life and I am grateful for all the moments we've spent together and all the adventures to come!!

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