May 24, 2015
7 mi rt
gain: 3284 ft
me and my almost unbroken self
gpx track, use at your own risk: Earl
Today was the day, I was going for it! I knew I would be slow, I knew it would be hard, I knew it would hurt. I was right on all counts! It has been 15 weeks since I grabbed a peak, 15 long weeks. Those weeks off trail definitely took their toll on my trail legs, so much so on one of them that people would look at my legs strangely when in passing…apparently I am uneven.
It was my intent to pack up and spend Saturday night on Earl but when I got to the Teanaway area there was thunder and lightening so I thought it best to sleep low and do Earl as a day hike. I got to the trailhead for Bean Creek about 8ish and having already prepared my pack I was soon on the trail. The trail immediately crosses a very nice bridge, the last one you will see so enjoy it. About a half mile up there is a split in the trail, Bean Creek trail continues to climbers right. About a mile up the trail comes the first of two creek crossings. Not a big deal but since I am wobbley, I switched to my water shoes and just walked across. Once back into boots I headed on up the trail. When you reach the meadows the second creek crossing comes in. There is an unofficial crossing about 300 feet before the designated on. I used the designated one and was able to cross without getting wet. Here is where the real up starts but thankfully there are switchbacks. I have never walked these particular switches before because there has always been snow that I could just kick steps up. I prefer the snow.
At the top of the switches you reach a saddle, this is a good spot to rest before the real up starts. Okay, I lied earlier, this is where the up starts for reals. The trail is still there, just a little less apparent so keep your eyes open. When in doubt, go up. After the false summit (don’t ya hate those) there is a bit more up to the true summit. None of this is technical, none of it is a big deal unless you like breathing then do as I did and take lots of micro-rests or use rest steps (I love me some rest steps!).
I spent a few hours on top because
1. I was FINALLY on top of a mountain
2. I was reading a great book about a woman who rowed solo across the Indian Ocean at age 23, inspiring.
3. The day was beautiful and the views amazing.
4. Because I could.
Just three other groups of two came while I was up there so it was I was able to have the top to myself quite a bit. The ladybugs have recently hatched so lots of little lady bugs around, so cute. I spent some time planning future adventures on the nearby peaks and ridges.
Finally it was time to head down. I was unquick since I am not quite unbroken and took my time to make sure I got down being as gentle on the ankle/foot as I could. What a great day.