Hiking and mountaineering has literally consumed me this season. My latest climb was Church Mountain and it was more than a challenge. It was down right treacherous. I went alone (which broke a major cardinal rule of the outdoors community) and I also went in bad weather. The weather didn’t slow me down much but I did reach a point in which I wanted to turn around. I should have but I didn’t.
I was literally 300 feet from the summit when I decided to push on. I drove my legs forward with each agonizing, muscle cramped step I finally made it to the summit. My inner thigh had cramped up and my left calf had decided it had enough, too. Pushing passed the pain and making my goals was something I learned in the military. Some times the pain is worth the reward.
I’m hiking up Vesper Peak on July 18th ’19. I’ll be leaving the comforts of my warm home, my soft bed, my supportive family to endure a hike that’ll separate the “men from the boys” so to speak. Vesper has been known to consume lives, inflict pain and send people home beaten and battered. It’s no joke and it’s not for novice hikers. I still consider myself a novice hiker because this will be the second peak I’ll attempt with over six-thousand elevation at the top. Fortunately, if you can endure the abuse, and if you summit Vesper, you’re no longer considered a “novice” hiker.
I’m not at all saying that those who’ve not reached the summit of Vesper are not experienced. There are many, many other peaks across the world that are tougher, and deal more pain than Vesper. I’m only stating what has already been established for the Pacific Northwest hikers just getting into the game. We all know Mount Rainier is king in the good ol’ PNW- but with Vesper standing at 6,220 feet in the air, and an extremely challenging trail to the top, she comes in a close second to being a tough mountain to conquer.
The last person to disappear from Vesper was Samantha Sayers. She went up solo and supposedly slipped and fell going down the “wrong” trail at the top. She was never seen again and there are several conspiracy theories as to how she disappeared. If you ask me, the mountain simply swallowed her up. The terrain is unforgiving. It doesn’t say sorry when you make a mistake. It simply makes you pay, and Sayers paid with her life. That’s the only currency Vesper takes.
Since I put this expedition in motion, I’ve been overcome with anxiety for the last few days. I’ve lost sleep over this and I haven’t had much energy to do much else because I want to preserve as much as I can for the hike. I’ve really watched my step, every move I make around the house as to not injury myself because I want optimal performance when I’m up there. This mountain has consumed me the last few days. It’s all I can think about. I hear it calling my name in my sleep and I make up in the middle of the night drawn to it’s beauty and desire to climb it. It sounds weird, I know. But that’s what’s been going on in my head these last few days.
I feel like I’m strong enough to hike this- I think I may be overthinking it but I still don’t want to leave anything to chance. I’m keeping my same routine, eating extremely healthy foods, drinking a ton of water and loading up on my vitamins. I’ve been stretching and taking it easy. I will beat Vesper on the first attempt. And if I don’t, I hope I’m able to get down and go for it again in the near future.
In closing, this blog entry is the prequel to the hike. I’ll certainly update everyone when I return from the mountain with another blog entry- after a few days of recovery, of course. Until then…
See you at the top!