Condor Peak Attempt

On Sunday Jan. 28, 2018, I decided to join a group hike with my friends over @trvrsapparel and throw Christopher to the wolves. I figured, if you are surrounded by wolves, you’ll start to act like a wolf. The strategy worked.

As we begun our intended 10 mile hike, around 7:30am, the group quickly started to gain a few feet from us. Christopher dislikes uphill, but to keep among the pack, he pushed himself in order to keep an eye on the group. Downhill ahead, this was our chance, Christopher knew it, and started speed walking and jogging to catch up. Sun already out, the wind was howling, hard. We got off to a great start.

We caught up and quickly started getting left behind yet again. No biggy, I assured him we would catch up eventually. Another uphill ahead, this one bigger and longer and much steeper. “Take your time,” I told Christopher, “don’t burn yourself out.” Slow and Steady we tackled that hill for breakfast. Done, for now. Back to leveled terrain, followed by a few stream crossings. Little to no water, still felt good walking over the logs and rocks as if it were a flowing river. Imagination runs wild. Christopher got hot going up the hill and had to take his sweater off and catch our breath, perfect timing.

After being about 15 minutes behind, the group was in sight, they were going up again, this time no trail. This was where the hard part begun, according to Aaa Jay, the 2 mile mark.  Jae came back for us and led the way to some bushwhacking action. The soft sand made the steep hill a bit difficult to climb. This went on for about 10 minutes. Jae in front of Christopher and me behind him, we made our way up the mountain to the unmaintained trail where the buschwacking stopped and trail finding started. Turns out we missed the turn to head up to the ridge about 1/2 mile before the bushwhacking part started which is the reason we charged uphill. All good, a quick shortcut fix and we were back on the unmaintained trail leading to the long narrow hilltop aka ridge.

We were now on the first ridge, which was followed by another ridge then another and many false summits. The group way ahead, winds getting stronger, and Christopher needing to catch his breath every few steps, all I could think of was ‘how much longer to the peak.’ Unsheltered from canyon and trees, the wind was throwing Christopher off balance. I grabbed him, grabbed his pack staying close to him, we kept pushing. Very slowly.

Wind started getting stronger, I had to be holding him and walking, simultaneously. The higher we went, the stronger the wind got. Christopher was determined and wanted to keep pushing. “papi grab my pack, hard,” he said as he walked fiercely along the 2nd ridge. The peak was in sight, however, that was no longer my main concern. My priority was staying close to Chris while he tried to take some steps against the wind. He was very cautious and stayed still when his balance was unsecure. Pushed back a step, he still felt in control. Until BOOM!!! or should I say ‘FFFFFFFF’ 💨 , a super strong blow that pushed Christopher a few steps into my arms. He panicked. I held him tight for a few seconds until he could stand on his own. He was frightened. “Are you ok?” I asked. He quickly replied “NO NO NO.” “Should we start heading back down?” I asked. With no hesitation whatsoever, he said “yes, let’s go back down.

No further questions asked, we turned back and followed the same unmarked path down the ridge. Wind still pretty high with the occasional big blow unbalancing Christopher, I walked as closely as possible holding his pack. The trail was below us.

Back in between canyons, the wind was howling above us. We could hear it and feel it, just not as bad. The marked trail a few hundred feet ahead, we were happy to end the bushwhacking session, and be on stable flatter ground. Away from danger, we decided to have an early lunch near a little stream. We sat on a huge rock and enjoyed the sun. Our first official break since we had started, we made sure to enjoy it deeply. I told Christopher to pop open his SUMMIT DRINK and we would share it. After all, we made it as far as we could while staying safe. That deserved some reward in my book .

About 45 minutes later, all packed and ready to go, down the mountain we trekked. The long rest break got the best of Christopher, his legs started to hurt a little, “I’m sore,” he said. We still had about 1 mile to cover. The best and fastest way down a mountain is to get to stepping, he kept walking.

To distract his mind, he likes to tell stories of anything he can think of. And for some reason, LEGOS are always on his mind, like 24/7. He started telling me about Ninjago Lego’s; all the characters, villains, how they train and I don’t know what.

And before we knew it, we were going down the first hill we had gone up at the beginning. Car just a few minutes away, he was happy. And so was I. A very good experience on the trail was attained, and we still had a good workout topping at a little over 6miles with about 2,000 feet gained 😆



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