At last I am updating my hiking blog to include a review of my summer, 2009 rambles. While the one I highlight in this post is not a backpacking venture, I was able to see parts of the Pacific Crest Trail and spent the day climbing a snow covered Lassen Peak while discovering the challenges, and yes, the fear of an ice-covered trail.
This was new for me. Not that I haven't done a snow-covered trail, but this required a bit of skill with Yak Trax on trail runners (of which I had only worn boots in the past). There was also something eerie about climbing an active volcano. I could see the devastation this mountain once wrought, and yes, could smell it as well - of cinders and strange vapors and other chemicals I can't really describe. As I neared the summit, I reached a very steep, icy part of the trail in which I had no idea how to get up. Thankfully a friendly Korean hiker (KJ) was on the trail with me, and when he arrived, assisted me up this icy ledge to reach the knife-edge summit. I celebrated with his flask and he snapped my picture in a most Everest-like moment for me. I like to think that perhaps this might be training exercises for a possible PCT venture one day. It's hard to know what the future will hold in the realm of hiking. But I was glad for the challenge and the opportunity to enjoy this pristine area of the Pacific west.
Summit of Lassen Peak
Note: Since I wrote this note, Lassen Peak trail is only open for a mile do to a fatality in late July of 2009 farther up the trail. I did the trail in early June.