FKT: Katlin Rhodes, Bethany Garretson - Adirondack 46 High Peaks (NY) - 2020-09-17

Gender category
Female
Route variation
thru hike
Multi-sport
No
Style
Unsupported
Start date
Finish date
Total time
7d 4h 50m 0s
Report

Day 1 – The Seward Range

Thursday, September 10, 2020

We feel ready, we feel zen. We jump into Bethany’s van, say goodbye to Andy and Tahawus the puppy and cruise towards the trailhead. Its not until we turn onto Corey’s Road that nervous energy fills the vehicle. Dead End the road sign says. Bethany throws on some tunes and we jam to Tubthumping – a childhood favorite. “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down”. Seems fitting. Finally we reach the trailhead, double check our gear, grab a trailhead photo and officially start our time at 10:15am. I’m relieved to feel the dirt under my feet, I’ve been waiting for this moment and it feels good to be making progress. Humidity fills our lungs but we’re fresh and eager and make quick work of the Blueberry Trail. Fog hangs in the air as we drop our full packs for the first time and switch to our day pack for an out and back of Seward, Donaldson and Emmons. We know this approach will add some mileage but it prevents us from needing to full pack up Calkins Brook which feels like the safer choice at this stage. I tell myself that my nerves have dissipated now that I’m on trail but I learn the hard way that’s not true as I storm up Seward - only to have the humidity put me in my place. In no time at all I’m gasping for breath and drenched in sweat, the air sits on my shoulders oppressively. All I can think is ‘what have I gotten myself into? I’m dying on the first mountain!’ At 1:11pm Seward summit is hard won and leaves me with a sense of dread… 45 to go. We press on and I recover a bit on the ridge, cruising across to Donaldson at 1:44pm, then Emmons at 2:12pm. I feel my body relax a bit with a few summits under our belts. Okay, I can do this. We drop back over Donaldson and Seward and down to the Blueberry Trail again, now with our sights on Seymour. Not looking for a repeat of the Seward ascent, I take it slow. I practice patience. Bethany wonders aloud if we made the right choice to start today, we both function better in the cold. How easy it is to doubt yourself on these mountain sides. We summit Seymour at 6:04pm and then head down to grab our packs and move to Duck Hole for the night. I smile as we arrive at the lean to, remembering a night spent here just 3 short weeks previously while hiking the Northville Placid Trail (NPT) with my husband Kenny ‘Jukebox’ and friends; Eric ‘Not-A-Bear’ and Jason ‘Mountain Goat’. I lay my quilt in the same spot I took up that previous night and soak in the comfort of the memories from that beautiful trip. No aches, pains or blisters to speak of. All in all, a good first day.

21.6 miles

7,380 feet gain

 

Day 2 – Santas & Allen

Friday, September 11, 2020

After a long night of little sleep, my watch sounds off at 4:15am signaling the start of day 2 on trail. Despite the lack of REM, I rise quickly, looking forward to being back on trail – this would be a fun day in remote wilderness. I look over to Bethany, large bags beneath her eyes tell me sleep evaded her too. She tells me she can’t be sure she got even a minute of sleep and is understandably concerned how this would affect her performance today. Regardless, we set off from Duck Hole at a brisk pace taking in the cool morning air and enjoying the stillness of this section of trail. Reaching the Santanoni Range Herd Path I grow excited – this is one of my favorite ranges in the park – and set a solid pace with my mind on Panther Peak ahead. The sun rises on the forest as we climb, turning north at the junction to reach the summit of Panther at 8:05am. There’s always something special about the first summit of the day and we high five as we reach the sign, then begin to head back towards Times Square. Before dropping off the shoulder of Panther, we’re graced with a view like no other that stops us in our tracks. The sun has risen and the clouds have nestled around the grand peaks in view as far as the eye can see. A feeling of standing among the heavens fills us up. The view is so powerful a wave of emotion hits me before I press it back down. There’s still a lot of work to be done! Filled with strength from our experience on Panther, we cruise out to Couchsachraga Peak reaching the summit at 9:09am and are back to Herald Square before we know it. Last but not least, we make the trek out to Santanoni Peak at 10:45am savoring the gorgeous day from the summit and deciding perhaps sleep isn’t as necessary as we thought! Feeling amped up from the ease of our first 3 summits of the day, we cruise down and out of the range towards Upper Works. By the time we reach the road we’re sailing at nearly 4 mph and feeling euphoric. We slow, just slightly, as we enter the forest at the base of Allen Mountain. There has always been a special feeling in these woods, we call it the ‘forest spirit’ but everyone has their own name for it. We scale the slide with relative ease and summit Allen quietly at 6:57pm, it is not until we dip back down off the summit and see the striking sunset in the distance that we know the spirit has given its blessing. We finish our day in the dark, savoring the peaceful forest around us, with a long but gentle walk out and up to our campsite a few miles south of the Flowed Lands. Sleep comes easily tonight.

31.1 miles

8,630 feet gain

 

Day 3 – The LOJ Loop

Saturday, September 12, 2020

We rise early, a big day ahead of us and eagerly get on trail. Today we get to enter what Bethany calls ‘the back door of the High Peaks’ – moving from the remote western peaks to the heart of the action and some of the most iconic High Peaks in the park. We climb up through the Flowed Lands as the sun rises around us, lighting up the river in a surreal glow. Our first task of the day is to snag a campsite to come back to tonight, we manage to find one without trouble and switch to our day packs quickly. I let myself get frazzled in my rush to get started with the day’s mileage. As we approach the base of Mt Marshall – our first peak of the day – I loose track of my feet while scaling a steep ladder and *SLAM* both knee caps come down on the next rung with the full force of my body weight. I reel from the impact and fight back a wave of nausea, feeling my knees swell immediately. Not how I hoped to start the day. I catch my breath and we push on up Mt Marshall for an 8:35am summit before dropping down the other side and tackling the rest of the MacIntyre Range. The next few come easily with their jaw dropping views and we visit Iroquois Peak (10:07am), Algonquin Peak or Big Al (10:41am) and Wright Peak (11:24am) in quick succession. The walk out to the Adirondack Loj is easy going, we make our way to Heart Lake and enjoy the beach to ourselves for lunch before moving on to tackle Street and Nye Mountains. The afternoon lull and warm temperatures as we ascend the herd path cause us to fall into a melancholy mood and the summits feel days away. Bethany patiently waits for me as I plod along, trying to shake my funk. Finally we reach the junction, tackling Nye Mountain first at 3:17pm before dipping back down and finally reaching Street Mountain at 3:47pm. I begin to perk up as we descend, excited at the prospect of views on Phelps - our next summit. Back past Heart Lake and the Loj, I assumed at this point in the journey passing these landmarks would be difficult. I assumed I would feel envy as I watched dirty hikers exit the woods to their shiny, fast cars to head into town for showers and burgers and icy cold beer… but I didn’t. Instead I feel grateful, grateful that I get to keep hiking. Grateful that I get to spend another night in these woods. I feel free. We speak of deep topics as we make our way back towards Marcy Dam, passing many a weary group. Some inquire ‘Are we almost there??’ to which we joyfully reply ‘Almost!’ hiding smiles behind our masks. We reach the junction to Phelps and I realize, if we hustle, we will be graced with an epic sunset. I set a strong pace as we climb, letting the thought of it drive me forward. I think of my friend Sarah who is also my brilliant Physical Therapist and thank her for the lack of pain from a chronic sciatic issue as I ascend. This mountain will be for her, I decide. I push harder. Our efforts pay off and we reach the summit at 7:30pm, perfect timing! Our eyes gobble up the sight of the setting sun with its red orange glow but we can’t stay long, we still have 2 mountains to go tonight. Back down to the junction and on to Tabletop, we continue to push, reaching the summit at 9:13pm. As we descend, Bethany takes the lead as fatigue begins to strike me. The next few miles are a blur with only one thought – keep moving forward. I can do little but follow Bethany’s feet as we ascend Colden, our final peak of the day, at 11:15pm. As we reach the summit we gaze up at a perfectly clear, cold sky. The stars are perfect, bright and mesmerizing. Finally we drop down, down, down to Lake Colden and stumble back into camp just before 1:00am feeling accomplished and exhausted.

32.4 miles

13,760 feet gain

 

Day 4 – The Storm

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Knowing the value of rest out here, we let ourselves sleep in a little after our late night. I have a pep in my step as I slide out of my quilt, eager to get boots on trail and move towards our goal for the day – The Great Range. I have so many beautiful memories on this range that flood my mind with excitement for the day ahead, but first we need to visit some old friends – Cliff & Redfield. During our first outing together just a few short months earlier, Bethany and I unexpectedly assisted a distressed hiker at the Uphill Lean To and ended up climbing Redfield twice in the same day together, the second time at midnight to gain cell service and alert the DEC. The seamlessness of our teamwork in that situation solidified the strength of our new partnership and need to complete this thru hike together. You could say Redfield has a special place in our hearts as a result. We decide to visit Cliff first, reaching the summit at 8:04am before dropping back to the junction and heading up Redfield at 9:30am. Off we head towards the Great Range, stopping for an out and back on Gray at 11:45am and Skylight at 12:41pm. The day was overcast and cool, perfect hiking weather. Knowing showers were in the forecast for late in the afternoon, we were hopeful Mother Nature had decided to spare us and the day would stay overcast and mild instead. With full packs on, we headed up Mt Marcy with the intention of cruising across the range quickly and completing the infamous Saddleback cliffs before the forecasted showers were set to hit us. Summiting Marcy at 1:38pm, the wind picks up as we reach the exposed rock face and rain begins to pelt us sideways. This is fine, everything is fine. It begins to rain harder and the wind gust make standing upright difficult. By the time we descend Marcy, the storm is fully on us. It douses us with heavy, bone chilling rain and the wind gusts tear at our rain coats. We have both hiked through many a rainstorm and withstood hurricane winds on exposed summits but with the technical terrain on Basin and Saddleback just ahead, which was to be tackled with full packs on, and the need to keep our overnight gear dry, we knew it wasn’t safe or reasonable to continue in this. “We need to drop off the range to Slant Rock” Bethany calls to me over the howling winds. My heart sinks, knowing that if we drop that far off our route we would have no chance of staying on pace to beat the overall unsupported FKT. Everything we had done, all that work to stay on pace and prove we could compete with the men, would be in vain. I shook my head no, we were close to the SnoBird tent sites, we could head there and wait out the storm in our tent then hike through the night. There was still a chance! Bethany agrees hesitantly and we make our way toward SnoBird, her reaching it ahead of me. When I see her coming back up the trail towards me I instantly know – it was flooded. Of course, how could I have been so stupid not to realize that would happen, the Great Range was notorious for flooding in storm conditions. “We need to drop off the range to Slant Rock” Bethany repeats, I agreed and we make our way to the protection of the Slant Rock Lean To as quickly as possible. The whole way I beat myself down; how could I have thought SnoBird was a good idea?? Why did I talk Bethany out of the safest, most logical decision?? I should have just listened to her in the first place, now our gear would surely be soaked through… what did that mean for the rest of our journey? Dread fills my heart. A temporary sense of relief touches us as we reach the safety of the lean to and began to evaluate the damage. I got lucky, my pack liner held up and my gear remained dry. Bethany was not so lucky, the high winds and driving rain bypassed her pack cover and soaked her sleeping bag, liner and dry sleep clothes. It was set to be in the low 30s the next few nights, making a wet sleep system a dangerous scenario. Emotion overcomes me. After all we had been through, my one bad decision and it could be over. Bethany provides a pep talk and I refocus my energy, we get to work hanging everything up to dry, cooking a warm meal and outlining a new itinerary. We inventory our calories, there will be just enough to get us by but we need to be mindful. We lost the overall unsupported FKT but there was still a chance we could finish this thing as the first women to do so.

 

15 miles

7,530 feet gain

 

Day 5 – The Great Range

Monday, September 14, 2020

We rise with the sun, hopeful that its warmth will help us to dry the remaining damp gear we have today but the sky is overcast. We pack up, trying to stay positive, and complete the dreadful task of placing ice cold, wet hiking clothes back on our bodies. Movement will be key to keeping our body temperature up this morning so we don’t dawdle, making our way back up the 1,200+ feet to the base of Haystack with purpose. Mount Haystack tests our spirits as we climb with intense winds raging around us. I think of my husband Kenny, the way he looked me in the eyes and said “You’re going to do this” just before I left. He meant it with all his heart, he believed in every ounce of his being I was capable of this monumental feat. This mountain is for Kenny, I decide. We summit at 8:35am and run back down as the wind gusts try to push us back, it’s beyond exhilarating and for a moment I forget our plight. As we move through the col and on to Basin Bethany stops me to share her headspace. “If the sun doesn’t come out soon my gear won’t dry in time for tonight.” It’s a reasonable assessment and I appreciate her honesty. She goes on to say that we’ve proven we can do this in record time… we WERE doing it… maybe this is a good test run. Our systems are solid, our teamwork is solid, if we just find a better weather window… My stomach is in knots, are we done? Is this it? I do a quick body scan, then a mental gear scan. My legs are surprisingly fresh considering the last few days, I have no injuries to speak of. My gear is dry and functional. If I were to quit now, it wouldn’t be because I couldn’t go on, it would be because I chose not to. We walk in silence for a bit.  I picture myself in the tent tonight alone, without my partner, and I cringe. I take a deep breath, “I’m going to keep going” I say out loud. I see a spark in Bethany’s eyes as soon as the words come out of my mouth and become cautiously hopeful. I don’t care about the FKT anymore, this is about us now, completing a beautiful journey. We can call for support, get you a dry sleeping bag and clothes if needed. I just need to finish, we just need to finish. Again we walk in silence, processing. We scale the technical terrain on Basin summiting at 9:48am and approach the Saddleback cliffs, working together to scramble up them safely and summit Saddleback at 10:31am. The sky remains overcast and cool but the wind has died down now. We head up the Gothic cables, enjoying the playground terrain, and reach the junction for Sawteeth.  Finally, the sun peeks out and greets us. A deep breath. We look at each other knowingly, we’re back in it! We drape gear out in the sunshine to dry as we complete the out and back with the raw joy of kids let loose in a candy shop. Up and down Pyramid and then we ascend Sawteeth at 12:19pm. Here we meet two lovely gentleman who say they came in from Lake Road and for the first time feel compelled to share our intended journey. The men are impressed and supportive, we say goodbye and bound down Sawteeth with a renewed sense of vigor. Back at the junction, we collect our now mostly dry gear and continue on over Gothics at 1:38pm and Armstrong at 2:07pm. The trail has a certain ease to it as we chat and laugh across the range. Up and over Upper Wolfjaw at 2:50pm and Lower Wolfjaw at 4:01pm and then we’re dropping down to the Ausable River. I have never been on this section of trail as I usually approach the Wolfjaws via Rooster Comb so I take joy in the new terrain. Reaching Lake Road makes for an easy end to the day before we begin to climb Gill Brook. We consider pushing to Elk Pass but settle on a tent site just north of it instead as my quad is feeling a bit tight. For the first time on our trip, we enjoy a campfire with spirits sky high after a wonderful day in the range. All is right with the world.

14.7 miles

7,800 feet gain

 

Day 6 – AMR & The Dix Range

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Our day starts with an early approach of Colvin and Blake for an out and back. I’m disappointed to feel my tight quad from the night before hasn’t dissipated the way I hoped it would but resolve to massage it out when I can and ignore it when I can’t. We summit Mount Colvin at 6:49am and head out to Blake Peak. I normally revel in the steep ladders and challenging terrain between these two but my quad continues to tighten and become increasingly painful as we move forward. We take a short break to see if I can work out the ugly knot that’s formed in the muscle when a young man catches up to us on trail. “Are you the 46er ladies?” he asks excitedly. “Umm I suppose we must be!” we laugh. His positivity is contagious and we tap into it as we push on to Blake Peak at 8:00am on the dot. However, as we make the return trip I begin to slow down considerably, each step getting more painful than the last. Bethany reaches the junction ahead of me and I’m forced to use every ounce of concentration to follow, intense shooting pains through my quad making it impossible to bend my leg. I must look like some kind of zombie hiker, swinging my right leg over rocks and logs awkwardly. I finally reach the junction and Bethany is sat on her pack looking ominous. She would later tell me she spent this time mentally preparing herself to hear that I was done and could not go on. I guess my pain was more apparent on my face than I thought. I set to work getting water and food into my body, knowing dehydration or lack of electrolytes was likely a factor in my dilemma. Despite the pain, I can still walk (kind of) and have no intentions of quitting. Bethany reminds me we only have a limited supply of food… this pace isn’t sustainable in the long run. We’re also preparing to move into the Dix Range bushwhack, the middle of a bushwhack is no place to discover you can’t continue. All of her points are valid and come from a place of genuine concern but I can’t process them, all I know is I have to press on. “I can get past this.” I believe it with all my heart. I’m probably dehydrated from being so exposed on the range yesterday, I’ll chug water and electrolytes I promise, I’ll bounce back. She looks doubtful but agrees we’ll continue on to Nippletop and see how it goes. By the grace of the mountains, somehow I live up to my promise. As we ascend Nippletop my quad loosens just enough to walk somewhat normally. Our pace increases and we summit Nippletop at 11:25am but we lost a lot of time this morning so there’s no time to linger. Off to Dial we push, dropping our packs at the col in preparation for the bushwhack ahead. We grab Dial summit at 12:37pm and meet two more kind gentlemen that say they’ve heard of our story.  We stand on the summit for a moment and feel a wave of positive energy. ‘People are thinking about us.’ Our hearts swell with the feeling it gives us. Back down Dial, we set an azimuth on my compass and start off on the bushwhack to Dix. I’m pleasantly surprised by the relative ease of this section as I had expected thick growth and before we know it we pop out on the Dix Trail almost precisely where we intended. A quick stop at the Dix slide and we’re off. I take lead with a very steady, slow pace as we climb this steep section. We have flashbacks to the previous Saturday when we were last on this trail setting the Giant-Dix Traverse FKT. Memories from that trip fire us up to keep pushing up the elevation. As I climb I think of Nancy and Claudia, the first women to complete the supported version of the thru hike just a few months ago. I had chatted with Nancy before we left and confessed my nerves. ‘Who am I to be attempting something like this?’ I asked her. ‘You are you, and that is enough.’ Those words stuck with me in this moment and I used them to drive me upwards. This mountain is for Nancy and Claudia, I decide. Reaching the summit of Dix Mountain at 3:56pm we were filled with a sense of unbridled bliss. It’s hard not to feel like you’re on top of the world on this range after all. On we pressed to Hough at 4:57pm, over Pough, to South Dix at 5:42pm and then on to Macomb at 6:23pm. As we start the return to South Dix from Macomb, the sun begins its descent over the range with a deep, layered red glow. We weren’t sure why but the sun looked different today. We would later find out that the forest fires out west had sent a haze over the sky that night. On we pressed to Grace Peak, our final mountain of the day and a favorite of ours. As we complete the gentle ascent I think of my mother, the strongest women in my life. Selfless, stubborn and independent, she gave up many dreams to raise us but she was always the driving force in my life to pursue my own dreams without compromise. Not without fear but despite fear. This mountain would be for my mother, I decide. I believe Grace would approve of such a sentiment. We drop down to the Boquet River, Bethany taking the lead and making it look easy to follow the subtle herd path in the dark. We settle into the Boquet tent site a few miles back from Rt 73 and Bethany thinks fondly of many trips to this very spot with her husband Andy.

17.8 miles

9,100 feet gain

 

Day 7 – Giant, RPR, Big Slide, Porter & Cascade

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Our day begins with relative ease, still pulsing from the strength traversing the Dix Range gave us the night before. The Bouquet herd path proves to be cruisy on the way out to Rt 73 and we’re making efficient time as we float over the road walk and up to the Giant Washbowl where we drop full packs. We enjoy the steep climb up Giant Mountain, savoring the views from this side of the road which are frequent along the way. As we crest the summit of Giant at 9:45am we hear a scream. A group of 3 young women sitting on the summit turn to us excitedly, “I can’t believe we’re seeing you right now!” one exclaims. We’re taken aback but flattered by the response, I guess more people know about our efforts then we thought! Again we feel the pulse of encouraging energy coming at us from the ‘real world’. Their excitement and positivity is heart warming and we use it to push across to Rocky Peak Ridge at 10:47am. A brief break to enjoy the views and we’re off again headed back towards the Giant junction and then dropping down the steep face back to the Washbowl. The morning is warm and sunny with bluebird skies and the face of Giant is rocky and exposed causing us to run low on water sooner than anticipated. Bethany pushes ahead to begin sterilizing water from the Washbowl while I have a stern talk with my quad about cooperating as I limp down the remaining elevation. We regroup, I massage out my quad, and we continue on across the Washbowl trail to Roaring Brook and out to Rt 73 for more road walking. My legs appreciate the break from roots, rocks and scrambles and respond well as we cruise into town. I enjoy this new perspective of Keene Valley and the Garden approach as I have always travelled up this section sitting above 4 wheels. We plan to refill our water near the base of Big Slide but as we approach, we find that the stream is nearly bone dry. In over a decade, I have never seen this stream so dry. Only a small, dirty puddle offers relief so we carefully scoop up what we can and mask the inevitable sediment with chocolate drink powder. It’s surprisingly delicious. I take lead as we ascend Big Slide with purpose, I’m not sure what overcomes me but a switch is flipped inside and I feel stronger and sharper than I have yet. Perhaps it’s the way the sun is beginning to fall through the sky or the grandeur of the views of the Great Range from our perch on The Brothers. Either way, we cruise up to the summit reaching it at 6:56pm before dropping back down to The Brothers for our last bushwhack of the trip. Twilight has just dwindled and darkness settles on us as we prepare to thrust ourselves into the thick woods. We look to each other, wondering how this will play out. “I’m just going to follow your feet.” Bethany says and I grow excited – to this point she had been the one pulling us through the fatigue and darkness when needed. Now it was my turn to step up. I nod and we push forward, surprised by the comfort of the dark woods around us. Only our headlights pierce through the night and we tackle the bushwhack 20 feet at a time, allowing us to stay focused on only the task at hand. Owls call out around us and we feel blessed to be the only ones that get to experience this part of the forest tonight. Successfully bypassing the private land to our east, we suddenly pop out just down the trail from Porter Mountain and breath a sigh of relief. Our last big hurdle is overcome! On we press to the summit of Porter at 11:03pm and finally Cascade at 11:37pm. The wind is fierce but warm and shifts our bodies back and forth as we ascend. I see a familiar fire in Bethany’s eyes – she’s in her element up here standing in the center of beautiful chaos. We can see the stars shimmering bright and the lights from Lake Placid shine out at us from the darkness and again feel blessed we’re the only ones with this view tonight. Exhilarated, we make our way down Cascade. By the time we reach the base of the mountain, we’re spent and know we need a few hours of rest to continue on the final portion of our journey. We stumble off trail a few hundred feet and find a comfortable looking indentation in the forest floor, roll out our sleeping gear and fall asleep to a view of the stars through the forest canopy.

29.4 miles

11,000 feet gain

 

Final Push – Whiteface & Esther

Thursday, September 17, 2020

A peaceful 3 hour nap and we snap awake. It’s bizarre to think this is our last day on trail and tomorrow we will be waking up inside houses. I look around my quilt at the springy moss and fragrant pine needles that are my bed this morning. I’ll miss this. Then I think of my husband, eagerly waiting at the finish line and pop up still fully clothed in hiking attire from the previous day. We’ve got a long road walk to start off our morning so we get straight to it, making efficient time and enjoying a debrief of our experiences over the last week as the sun rises in the distance. As we cut across the golf course and onto River Rd, a light rain starts up. The first few miles of the Whiteface approach from Connery Pond are gentle and easy going so I take the opportunity to process some of the emotions I’ve kept bottled up. My mind wanders to a memory of my brother Tim, he had just gotten out of the Operating Room following one of many brain surgeries he endured throughout his life. He was weak and in pain but conscious. He reached out and I took his hand as he said something softly. I asked him to repeat it, placing my ear close by. “You’ve always been my favorite.” We had gotten into a minor sibling spat just before he went in and he knew the guilt was eating at me. Fresh out of surgery and in enormous pain and these are the words he chooses to use what little strength he has on. We continue our ascent of Whiteface, slowing significantly as we close in on the summit. The last half mile or so of trail from this side of the mountain is little used and even less maintained, featuring many a downed tree and boulder to scramble over. These obstacles are made extra challenging due to the screaming pain now in both of my quads making it difficult to bend my legs properly. I think again of my brother Tim. This mountain is for him, I decide. I feel like I’m crawling along as we approach the summit, Bethany patiently holding back so that we can reach it together at 11:48am. I collapse beside the infamous Whiteface sign, relieved that we’ve accomplished the final big push of the journey. One to go. We gain momentum with the thought of Esther ahead, quickly reaching the junction, dropping pack and covering the mile out to the summit. At 1:10pm we reach the plaque, completing the final peak on our journey. We pause and take in the moment, after all moments like this don’t come along very often. We embrace joyfully before taking off again, back to the junction and down our final descent to the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) Trailhead just as the sun pokes its head out from the sky. At 3:05pm our adventure comes to a close with a euphoric cry of joy as we walk into the arms of our family and friends.

21.2 miles

4,400 feet gain

 

One of Katie's main sources of strength in arduous times is the memory of her brother Tim, who took his own life on January 1, 2011 after a long battle with mental health and a severe neurological condition. This is one reason we decided to participate in 46 Climbs for Suicide Prevention to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) as part of our attempt. You can support our efforts to raise suicide awareness and prevention here, donations accepted until 12/31/20: 

https://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/2344764

 

*On the attached maps, our actual route is highlighted as walked each day. Orange - Full pack, green - day pack.