Thursday, August 9, 2007

Day 8: 8/1/07: Missouri Mountain: 14,067


10.5 miles

Standard Route – NW Ridge from Missouri Gulch

Company: Wendy Chi

Wildlife: marmots, grasshoppers

4500 feet

Start: 5:40 am

Summit: 10:40 am

Stop: 1:40 pm


Clear/cool – 6:00 am

Cloud formation – 1:00 am

Thunder/rain – 2:30 pm

Deja vue. An uncanny feeling that I’ve been here before! I’d felt various bouts of deja vue throughout the previous climbs – it had been especially strong on the summit of Mount Columbia. And now again today…but this time I really had been there before. The long hike up Missouri Gulch had impressed itself upon my memory and was now replaying, step, step, step, switchback, step, step, step, switchback, relentless. While the first mile in the woods went quickly (much more so than the previous time), it was not long before Wendy was stricken by uncomfortable abdominal ailments and general malaise. Oh how well I know how horrendous it is to complete a single step when in intestinal distress. While I hiked to forget those long days in India, the diversity of the Missouri Mountain trail unfolded itself. All the wonders of the trail were out – fields of wild flowers, flocks of juicy, humongous grasshoppers, marmots stealthily following (perhaps distant cousins of the infamous Lenny from nearby Oxford). So while I enjoyed the trail and having an “on” day (despite sore legs from this being the 6th peak in four days), Wendy – with here endless will power – continued ad tedium up the trail.

The ridge trail across the top half mile curled toward the peak blemished only by a spooky haze encroaching on the 360 degree view. Marmot-free we celebrated #11 with fancy sandwiches and a brief photo shoot. Upon venturing down, we encounter Brian, boyfriend of Missy, running down the trail. The night before, we met them at the trailhead. After Missy had checked the trail register, she had come running back to talk to me – we had gone to junior high together in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Big world. Small world.

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