Monday, July 15, 2013
Soooo. I did an 8-hour stint on the stairmaster yesterday.
"But Cheryle, you don't have a stairmaster," you say.
Well, this stairmaster of which I speak, is the Middle Sister 'hike'. And oh boooy, what a doozie!
Let me start by saying that I am very happy to have summitted the peak - "Charity" was my 35th summit, and I've gazed at the Three Sisters trio for years, wondering what it was like up there. Now I know. But in all honesty, it is not a venture I would recommend, at least not to anybody that I liked!
Right from the get-go, the trail is tedious. It starts off with a monotonous 3km walk from the parking area to the creek bed. However, even though boring, it is on a nice, flat road - and in hindsight, I should have savored those steps! Because once you reach Stewart Creek, kiss level ground goodbye!
This is where the real fun begins - a boulder-hopping, bushwhacking good time is had by all, for the next 4-5km. The entire drainage was annihilated by the recent heavy rains, and there are barely any banks and virtually NO trail left whatsoever.... this part of the ascent is now made almost completely by clambering over large, unstable rocks and maneuvering around huge fallen trees and other debris.
At the end of this unexpectedly arduous section, and if you are not out of water and haven't poked out an eye or taken a nasty tumble, an unrelenting, neverending (okay it's only about 2km) scree slope awaits. Yaaayyyy!! Scree!! My favorite!! Ummm.... NOT. The lower half is black-diamond steep and covered in that awkward size of rock that is big enough to trip over but too small to actually put your whole foot on... once you reach the slope below the col between the Big and Middle Sissies, the scree becomes more tolerable... and the slog continues. And continues. And continues.
Eventually, you do pop up over the col, and I will admit that at that point, the whole twisted effort becomes worth it.... The views are amazing, and the exposure is dizzying. Big Sister looms to the left, the Bow Valley is spread out in front of you, and the ridge drops off horrifically on the right. Little Sister is seen from a cool perspective, and after trudging for just a few more minutes, the Middle Sister summit cairn is apparent.
*SIGH* The summit! I packed a beer (one was not enough!) and a yummy lunch, and I spent about 45 minutes basking in the glorious weather at the top. Of course I picked out a small souvenir rock... and then.... the descent.
Surprisingly, I was not stiff today. I kind of thought that I may not be able to get out of bed this morning, after covering 18 challenging kms and gaining 1450m of elevation. My theory is that it was because I stayed so well hydrated.... mmmm beer.... haha!!
Next weekend - more of the same! And have you seen the weather forecast?? Oooooh I can hardly wait!! Being outside is so much fun!