Backpacking Adventure - Day four part one - Feb 28 - Hiking down Romero Canyon
We all decided that we probably should get up earlier in the morning on this last day of our backpacking trip, since we need to cover 6.2 miles, which is a long distance based on our previous 3 days of hiking. Dan and Cheryl called out at about 5:00AM to see if I was awake, and I was awake thinking about how far we needed to hike that day.
We decided to get up right away and break camp without eating. We had filtered the water we needed the previous night, so there was nothing holding us back. It took us about 30 minutes to pack up and begin our last day's hike. We put on our headlamps and started hiking west. The trail led quite a ways up the north wall of the canyon in complete darkness. It was about 40 degrees farenheit when we started out, and it was a very enjoyable hike.
The trail was a very reasonable slope, and wasn't as rugged as what we'd grown used to over the trailing 3 days. This was my "first - ever" nighttime hike in the mountains. It was clear that I needed to re-evaluate my headlamp. The light output level seemed much dimmer as compared to both of my compatriots. In order to have enough light to stay on the trail is I had a small LED flashlight, and so I carried that in my right hand, while simultaneously holding my right trekking pole handle. That seemed to work just fine.
From time to time, I could see down a steep slope below the trail, so it helped me focus on staying on the trail, and not falling over the edge. I never felt like I was in serious danger, but the 40 and 50 miles per hour gusts of wind in the direction of down the canyon wall was worrysome from time to time. Having the 35 pound pack on my back seemed to help me anchor myself on the trail when the windspeed picked up from every once in a while.
All in all we hiked probably close to 3 hours in complete darkness. By 8AM, the sunlight over the mountain was bright enough to start to see the canyon, and making the headlamps unnecessary.
Between the cool night time temperatures and the cooling breeze, combined with the gentle downward slope of the trail most of the way, it was a very productive and enjoyable hike. This was my first nighthike, but it won't be my last one.
I'm not sure I would go on a hike like this in the warmer temperatures when the rattlesnakes are out, for fear of stepping on one of them in the trail. But this time of the year (February 28), that is improbable to the extreme.
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