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Chimney Rock, Trail #256

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Chimney Rock, Trail #256

Hike #415


RAIN!   49°-65°        

Aug 15, 2011…Tr #256 …hike # 415   

The initial plan for today was to go to the Harrison Lake trailhead and climb Harrison Peak. The forecast for town was for afternoon thunderstorms; I had not checked the weather at 6000’. As we began to drive, black skies loomed over the mountains and soon we saw the inevitable sprinkles on the windshield. Hmmm…driving in, it got more ominous looking and the plan changed to Chimney Rock.  

When we got out of the truck at the trailhead, we were chilled by the cool breeze but I decided not to put a jacket on even though it was 65°. As rain fell, it wasn’t long before we had to put jackets on. Unfortunately, trying to reduce the pack load, we both decided a few weeks ago to take our good precips out of the packs in favor of carrying a full load of water. After all, summer is here, right? HA! I had two light windbreakers and Jim found one in his pack. It wasn’t long however before we were totally soaked from the unrelenting rain.

I wore my non Gore-Tex boots today in favor of having a more breathable boot for a hot summer hike…again, joke on me. It wasn’t long before my socks were soaked and my feet were cold. Jim’s boots were filling up as well. With the jackets now soaked and plastered to our cold arms, we plodded on as the temperature dropped down to 55°. We passed a pile of bear poop. It got colder and colder, with temps dropping first to 51° and then to 49°, the lowest it got, but we were getting used to being wet and cold. We had only our light Smart Wool gloves…but that was all. As we plowed thru heavy, drooping, rain-soaked brush, I tried to keep my hands up to keep the gloves from getting wet and finally had to get out the Hot Hands and stuffed them into my gloves to warm my cold wet hands.

We continued on and didn’t turn back because I wanted to get to the best view spot, where views of Chimney Rock are so spectacular. I always get great shots here and I thought that maybe Chimney Rock would be visible in the fog in the distance. But that was not to be today. So sat down on the wet rocks to eat lunch. I took out my dry socks and stupidly laid them on the wet rocks…the socks soaked in all the water. Oh, no….I couldn’t believe I did that. But then I also laid my gloves on the rocks as well…what was I thinking?

Finishing up, we heard voices. ..a young couple was on the trail, we told them it would be another hour to get to the end; they sat and had lunch too. We chatted a bit and then said goodbye. We walked up the trail a bit further but my fun meter had maxed out and my feet were freezing, as we are now walking in soaked socks with our toes squishing in the boot filled ice water. The young couple was right behind us…we let them pass.

By the time we got back to the truck, we were warmer; in fact, we had to take the jackets off as the sun was trying to come out at the lower elevation. Jim poured about two tablespoons of water out of his boots! We saw the first huckleberries at high elevation!

Left home                    8:30

Got to T.H.                  9:20

Started up                   9:30                                                                                  

Started down               1:50                

Got to truck                 2:10  

Total miles hiked          8 miles

Total hiking time           4 hours, 40 minutes


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Betsy Fulling Betsy Fulling In 2002, after a bout with cancer and wanting her energy back, Betsy Fulling began hiking with her husband Jim. Regardless of the weather they go into the high country every week - in eight years, she has only missed five times.

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huckleberries, hiking, Chimney Rock, Trail #256

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