29 September 2009

Mount Democrat

30 August 2003

Rain fell all night. I kept wondering if maybe I shouldn’t try to hike today. I knew it would be snowing up high. But I had no way to contact my hiking partner, who was coming in from Utah to bag peaks all weekend.

At the trailhead, fog was dense. The air was full of hair-curling moisture. My bangs were all over the place and dripping, too.

The summit was a bit chilly. The kind of cold that prevents you from signing registers because taking your gloves off hurts.

We kept losing the trail on the way up. Just before we reached the saddle, two more hikers, Mike and Doug, caught up to us. This was exceptionally cool for me because I was now hiking with guys named Mike, Doug and John. Only Larry was missing. The remarkable coincidence ignited so many precious memories of hiking Marble Canyon with all four of my brothers when we were just wee kids. I wish I'd had my Nikon back then. Oh, the pictures I would have!

There indeed was snow on Democrat, and snow was falling again before we left the summit. There was no view whatsoever. One of the reasons I climb is to see the view. The hike was one of the easiest I’ve ever done. The snow made it just a little bit more work than, say, Grays and Torreys. The hardest part of the entire hike was trying to keep from getting blown off the summit. When we were on the side of the ridge that sheltered us from the wind, I did fine. But when we got up in the wind, ooh, baby, was it cold!

This summit counts as winter, right?

On the way down, I was feeling somewhat discouraged because I’ve had this hike planned for months, and if I’d waited until Monday to do it, as planned, the weather would have been fine, and I would have bagged all four peaks... Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln and Bross, or the DeCaLiBro, as the quad is affectionately known. I would have used lots of film. I would have been a happy camper.

My hiking partner, unfortunately, refused any hint of flexibility, even though he had more free days to climb than I had. He insisted I change my schedule to accommodate him, even though I provided the four-wheel-drive to get us to the trailhead. He thinks religion stinks, he hates the Olympics, and he wasted no time making his thoughts well known on just about everything I like. He seems to hate people in general, especially cheery people.

On the way down from Kite Lake, I stopped to give another motorist a jump. My hiking partner said he’d take care of the details, as it was raining. The gentlemanly thing to do.

Well, he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t figure out how to unlatch my hood. So I had to get out of the car and do it myself. I got back in the car and gave it gas while the other motorist tried to start his car. When his car started, my hiking partner gave me a thumb’s up and got back in my car without helping the other motorist detach the jumper cables!!! I couldn’t believe it! I mentioned he hadn’t closed the hood, and he sat there and grinned. “Oh, you’re right. I didn’t, did I?”

The rudest thing of all was when he stuck his hand into my homemade cranberry trail mix without asking! He just grabbed a heaping handful, more than half! I was walking way behind him. He stopped, stuck his hand in my bag and just started eating, as if that was acceptable behavior.

So, maybe the wind on the saddle really was NOT the worst part of my day…


  1. I'm gonna guess this guy has been removed from your approved list of hiking partners.

  2. Hey, wasn't sure if you were aware, but there is a small typo on your DeCaLiBro pattern.. on Rnd 3, it says : *3sc in next ch-10 sp, ch 6, CH 3 in same ch-10 sp; rep from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc. : im assuming that should read ch 6, 3 sc in same ch-10 sp: hope you are having a great new year, and i love all your snowflakes.. sincerely, Heidi..

    1. Thank you, Heidi! I will get that changed right away!


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