Is That Heavy?

Yesterday we headed out for a conditioner hike along the I-90 corridor. Our goal was a full day of endurance hiking with a heavy pack. Leigh Ann, Jenn, and I each carried about 45-55 lbs.

We departed Mason Lake Trailhead early in the morning. Our plan was to hike to the summit of Defiance, retrace our path past Mason Lake, and then tag Little Bandera on the way out. Normally at this time of year we would not be able to drive to this trailhead because it would be under snow. However, with the extremely low (ie non-existent) snowpack, our entire hike to both summits involved little more than trail hiking with a bit of compact snow in places.

Everyone seemed to be getting out to the mountains this weekend. The resulting people passing pleasantries on this particular hike were a bit over the top…maybe it was because we were a party of 3 women who happen to smile and say “hello”? I wonder if we’d get this kind of sh!t if one of our male friends had joined us?

Here are a few of our favorites:

Mason Lake Area
Male hiker: “Where are you headed?”
Our response: “Defiance”
Make hiker: “It’s icy up there”
Our response: “Good thing we brought our crampons”
(we also had ice axes strapped to the outside of our packs)

Most of the way up Defiance
Male hiker: “You training for Rainier?”
Our Response: “No, we’re training for Denali”
Male hiker: “It’s steep up there.”

Mason Lake Area
Male Trail runner: “You’re carrying more gear than I own!”

Mason Lake Area
Male hiker: “You got your 10 essentials in there?”
Our thoughts: “All 20 essentials plus your 10 essentials. We’ve got you covered.”

Most of the way up Little Bandera
Male hiker: “There’s more snow up there”
Our thoughts: “But a lot less snow than on Defiance.”

It was a truly wonderful day to be out and I was glad we made the most of it. Everyone was out enjoying the great weather. Backpackers, day hikers, trail runners, dog walkers, and families with kids all made this a very diverse trail hiking experience.

Trip stats: About 11 miles and 4800′ elevation gain.

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