|Trailhead||Vivian Creek Trail|
After 5 peaks, Toni, Susan, and I knew we were much slower than the rest of our speedy group, we decided to begin the trail at 2:30 am knowing the rest of our group will catch up to us at some point. We had no sleep! We left work, got home around 10 pm on Friday, pack our things and attempted to nap for 1 hour before hitting the road, but that was unsuccessful. So we chugged some expresso and headed out to the trail head. We didn’t arrive to the trail head until 3:00 am, we were late as usual. Poor Toni waited in her car for 30 minutes in the dark. It took us 30 minutes to collect our things and courage to be the first people on the trail that morning. We started at 3:30 am and it was a creeepy start!! We got to the middle of the steep switchbacks was when Susan started to vomit, she wasn’t feeling well from lack of sleep and energy. We stopped for about an hour and all I could remember was how cold it was and if she really needed to turn around. She took a 20 minute nap resting her head on her hiking pole, then felt better and kept pushing up the switchbacks. We started hiking again around 5:00 am and we finally started seeing people come up the trail which was comforting. We saw a group come up and asked them to take a picture for us in the dark by the San Gorgonio wilderness sign.
After the switchbacks, the trail was nice a flat, I loved it. The sun was peaking and all was well until lack of sleep started to take over me. I didn’t want to continue. Every time I sat down, I wanted to shut my eye and sleep which is what i did several minutes at a time. I guess it was possible lol We kept our breaks to a short 2 minute breather each time one of us needed it. We passed trail crest camp and our friends later caught up to us at the switchbacks, we exchanged hugs and smiles and walked together from that point on. Once we got to the opening at 10,300 feet, I thought the steeeeeeeeeeeepest gain was over. We were all not prepared for the next 2,000 feet climb in 3 miles. It was so hard to do with no sleep, no appetite, and no energy. I had acute AMS, I wanted to turn around when I was only 300 feet away from the seeing the summit. I kept hearing about a “false summit” and didn’t know what they were talking about til I saw it myself. I felt so deceived and miserable, but this couple from Canada kept pushing me.
Everyone had made it to the top 20 – 45 minutes ahead of me… all at different times. I was the last one to summit, but I made it and was greeted with a cheerful group of friends. I loved every minute of that memorable 25 minutes at the top even when we were standing in 20 degrees. I was freezing. The clouds were rolling in and it looked like it was going to rain. We didn’t see much of a view, but we got a chance to take a group picture and individual pictures with the sign. Because we met Toni at our first peak Mount Wilson, and welcomed her in our group for the six pack of peaks challenge, she bought us finisher shirts and surprised us. She was so thoughtful. We gained memories and everlasting trail friends embarking on this challenge together.
I can’t end this blog without talking about the hike back down. I think I was sleep walking the entire way down. Walking downhill is my least favorite already. We left the summit at 4 pm and didn’t get to the trail head until 10 pm. It felt like the trail never ended and I was cussing the entire way down. All I could think about was a hot shower and sleep, just sleep in my bed for days, put on a clean bed sheet and dream about anything. I was up for a total of 40 hours before I finally had sleep. It felt great to finally shut my eye. Now that the challenge is over, I am going to sleep and not plan anything back to back and take days off before and after long hikes after many of these no sleep experiences.