Back to Paintbrush Canyon - sunday 2010-08-29 2046 last modified 2010-10-22 2036
Categories: Daily Grind
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Rewinding to last week's vacation, I once again attempted to tackle the Paintbrush to Cascade hike, a 19 mile loop at its shortest with about 4000 ft. of elevation gain over its course. My first look at the hike was two years ago, one on which I'd hoped to hit an upper lake before heading back, having started fairly late in the day. I was never clear how far I made it since I turned back from tiredness and falling light. I know now I turned back slightly less than half a mile from my goal - there's a new trail sign near that point that lists how far it is to the lake and points beyond.

This time I had company and hoped to make the entire loop in a day, waking at 6am to try to make the best use of the next 13 hours of daylight. We ended up starting after 8am due to road construction delays, and then we began. This is my route, which only ends up attaining the lake I'd hoped to hit the first time. I think just seven miles weekly with only 1000 ft. of gain isn't good enough of a routine to make a day run of this loop.

I did end up going about 16.5 miles, ditching out at the ending point to take the ferry back to the parking lot (my companions, having already done 6000 ft. and many miles at Mt. Whitney just days ago, finished walking around the lake for 19 miles). I think I need to live in Denver for a couple weeks before my next attempt, and after finding better ways to condition for such a large elevation gain. Possibilities for next time (in another two years): start at String Lake, which cuts off the six miles pre-hike before the real climbing begins, overnight at one of the lakes, or cheat and take a horse up to horse camp.

One of these days, Paintbrush. One of these days.

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