The second day of our trip was my favorite. We did a whole lot of relaxing, marveling and appreciating of the beauty surrounding us.
We set out to day hike up to Shepherd’s pass, which was a little over 2 miles from our campground. It was a pretty steep hike though, with about 2,000 feet of elevation gain.
I was pretty sore from the previous day’s hike in. I found the fast gaining elevation challenging and the increasing rocky terrain difficult to scramble over:
The views grew even more astoundingly beautiful. I felt an insane amount of gratitude to be experiencing this. The challenge of the course was well worth it:
We finally reached the top! Here I am at 12,000+ feet:
We found a nice spot amongst the rocks to have lunch and relax. We stayed here for over an hour to take in the amazing opportunity to experience this sacred space:
We arrived back to camp in the early afternoon. The rest of the day was spent napping, reading, talking and appreciating the gifts of nature. This trail is not widely travelled, we saw only 2 other hikers while we were camping and there was no one else camping anywhere near us. I basked in the solitude and silence.
The next day, we woke up early, tore down camp and re-packed to set off on the 10 miles out:
The hike out was definitely less difficult, but still by no means easy. Still, our packs were much lighter and we headed downhill for most of the trip.
It was pretty mind blowing to look up and see how far up we had come from.
We moved pretty quickly. We were all motivated by the prospect of a shower, a big meal and our hotel’s swimming pool. The valley kept growing closer and closer:
4 hours and 10 miles later, we were done! I have to share this picture, it is of my 8 year old step-son. I do not share a lot of pictures of him here, because I am overly cautious of children having an online presence, but I have to say how insanely proud I am of him perserving on this difficult trail. He is an avid hiker and has trained right alongside us, without complaint. Suffice to say, he was also proud of himself!
I was so happy to see our car and even happier to see my flip-flops! I was elated to take of my hiking boots and free my aching feet:
We said our good-byes to the trail and drove back to civilization. It was pretty incredible to think we had just hiked down from this:
After the world’s greatest shower, we celebrated with ice cold beers, loads of chips, salsa & guacamole. I also ordered a bean torta. All much deserved!
This was a fantastic experience. On this trip, I finally felt like an experienced backpacker. I think talking about all my anxieties helped. I acknowledged them and moved on, once my feet hit the trail, they subsided (for the most part) and I went for it. Even on the most trying sections of the course, there was never a doubt that I would not conquer this trail. It definitely humbled me, and reminded me to once again respect the great expanse around me.