|Feb. 23, 2008 (Sat.)
|Elevation: 4960 feet; Order of Height: 3
|Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Jennifer Innes, Ewart Tempest, Jason Chlopecki
Today was the day: Saturday, February 23: the day to attempt our final winter 46 peak.
Jenn and I, having just completed Marcy, Gray and Skylight just a week before, were at 45 out of 46, with only Haystack remaining. Ewart had two: Basin and Haystack, and so in order to accommodate this, we co-ordinated with Ewart so that he would start out on the trail an hour before us, summit Basin, and then join with us on our ascent of Haystack (for those of you who don't know, Basin is a peak adjacent to Haystack). Also along for the adventure today was Phuong, a co-worker of mine and an avid, aspiring adventurer.
There was a light dusting of fresh snow, perhaps an inch or so, and the trail was well-packed. The sky overhead was gray, and it was very lightly snowing, but I felt confident enough in the forecast to not be too worried. Sure enough, as we hiked along, the sky brightened, turning a yellow-y color, and before long we could see breaks in the overcast to our south. It wasn't long after that that the skies cleared completely, developing into a calm and beautiful sunny morning.
Phuong was experiencing a bit of a food bonk, and as a result we slowed our pace a bit and stopped for several restorative snack breaks. Also at about that time, a fellow hiker who we'd met the week before on Gray had charged up behind us to join our climb.
At the Shorey Shortcut, we parted ways. They kept on the shorter, straighter route, and I veered left onto the Shorey Short cut trail to meet up with Ewart, who was over on Basin. We'd meet up again near the base of Little Haystack.
Ewart hadn't yet finished with Basin, so I broke the Range trail up to Little Haystack alone, then met up with Jason, Jenn, and Phuong, and go the explanation for the late arrival: Phuong's knee was bugging her, so she was going very slowly and was going to turn back. Jason had missed the unbroken trail junction and had accidentally summitted Marcy.
Jenn, Jason and I made our way over to Little Haystack, finding the steep descent of the far side of it a little challenging. We then proceeded up, under increasingly-clearing skies, through the beautiful alpine terrain to the summit, where we hugged and celebrated the last of our winter peaks.
Ewart came up shortly thereafter, having caught us up after doing Basin. We waited for him and did a quick re-summit so that all three new winter 46ers could stand on Haystack's summit together.
A beautiful hike down through the late day light, a quick descent on the now well-packed trail, and a few hours of power-walking brought us to the warming hut near JBL and reunited us with Phuong. From there, it was another hour and a bit in darkness back to the Garden, where Mark and Linda Perry had a wonderful congratulatory greeting and gift-set for us. Quite a memorable day!
See the image gallery link below for a much more detailed writeup, and the set of pictures, graphs, maps, and GPS data.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
Image Gallery: February 2008 - Finishing the Winter 46: Haystack Mountain