King’s Peak, Part 2:
It was go-time. I hiked with my dad earlier in the day, but he became dizzy as we were hiking, and he decided to turn back. I went back with him down to the parking lot to make sure he was alright. We secured him a camping spot, and I went back to the trail.
I was so pumped! The ground under my feet was disappearing, the scenery around me was a blur. I’d stop to greet other hikers along the way, exchanging our excitement, but other than that I wasn’t taking any breaks. It was only a seven mile hike, I’ve got this.
Before I knew it I had hiked up to the elevation I’d be staying at until I made my ascent. I was leaving the tree-line behind, and the trail opened up into an absolutely beautiful basin. From there I talked to some forest rangers about poop and the best places to camp, they pointed me in the right direction and I made my way. As I walked I passed a boulder with a backpacker just hanging out on top eating a granola bar in the cool evening light. “This is what it’s all about” I thought.
I was nearing my camp site as I crossed two other hikers coming out, heading back to the parking lot.
“You just coming up?” They asked.
“Yeah, I left from the main parking lot”
“How long have you been hiking?”
“I don’t even know what time it is dude” And it was true, I hadn’t really been paying attention. I vaguely remembered leaving somewhere around 2:00 PM. “What time is it right now?”
“3:30” They responded.
I told them I seemed to remember leaving around two, at which point their jaws dropped. I mean, I’m a fast hiker. I don’t stop for breaks very often, and I tend to charge uphill to get it over with. So it could have been reasonable.
“I don’t like to stop for breaks, I just pushed through” I said to console their shocked expression.
“If we find out you’re lying to us, we’re coming back to kick your ass” They said as they left.
I laughed and continued on. Then I remembered I had actually left closer to 1:00, maybe 1:30.. The truth is I still don’t know, but I don’t think I left at 2:00. I don’t pay attention, I just look at the sun and roughly guess how much daylight I have left. That’s all. I stopped and debated running back to tell them I was probably wrong about how long I’ve been hiking, but eventually I decided against it.
I felt bad, but eventually was able to accurately help someone. Another solo hiker was looking for a good place to camp, and I was able to point him in the right direction. It balances out in the end, right?
At the very least, my ass remained unkicked that night.