Tuesday, day 2 at Ultima Thule. Lots of pictures HERE. Today started at breakfast with a discussion of what everyone wanted to do. A rafting trip was proposed I knew that we wanted to do that. There was also an offer of a point A to point B wilderness hike. One of the other couples had a very injured foot. So she was going to raft, and the guy go for the hike. Wifey suggested that we do the same thing. Even though I would like to raft, I would like to walk in the wilderness even more. So we split up for the day. Wowzers. When friends and I talk about going hiking certain things are implied. There is going to be leaves, bark, trees, and quite possibly a path to follow. I would not call what we did a hike but it as definitely the greatest walk I have ever taken. A plane dropped us off at point A which was along a ridge line about 7 miles away at an elevation of about 4200 feet. Point B was our camp. We were only getting in a plane once today. From the starting point we hiked almost straight uphill, above the tree line, through meadows to around 6000 feet. Where that part of the walk ended looked like the edge of the world. The other side of the peak dropped straight down and the only thing you could see were snow capped mountains miles in the
distance. Very dramatic. From there began the most grueling walk I have ever taken. It was 5000 feet downhill over 8.5 miles. Most of it was along the spine of the mountain. Some areas were no more than 6 feet wide, walking on loose rocks, staring down into the abyss on both sides. One section was a 3000 feet drop in 1 mile. That is a downhill angle of much more than 45 degrees. Lots of places were spent sliding sideways downhill, jogging and skipping just to stay upright, and even the occasional butt skooch. At one point my GPS machine said we were going downhill at an average rate of 77 feet per minute. Once the mountain ridge/spine ended it was a much flatter walk through the woods back to the lodge. More what a hike is in my world. It was 8 hours of walking, only stopping for lunch. I rolled my ankle twice. It looked like I was smuggling a baseball under my skin. We saw a ton of sheep, a ram, and golden eagles. If I had known what this walk was I might not have signed up. I could not be happier that I had this experience. So in hindsight it was a great decision. I’ll be paying for it for days, but I will remember this walk forever. Lots of pictures HERE.