May 21, 2022
Start/finish: Hancock lookout
Elevation gain: 2749′
After lunch, I headed over to the Hancock lookout around 2:30 and easily found a parking spot. I suited up and headed out. As I hiked along, the trail became progressively more muddy and wet; the stream crossing were all moderate, and easy enough to cross using stepping stones. Bugs were present in some areas, but so long as I kept moving, they weren’t too bad. Along the way, I stopped to filter up some cold clear water to keep myself hydrated in the 80+ heat. Eventually, I came to the split for the tiny loop and went to the left, as is my preference. I climbed up to Hancock, with that incredibly steep section still managing to surprise me a bit despite all of my previous visits. I had to slow down more for my heart than my muscles, as my heart rate started to soar and blood pulsed in my ears. At the top of the climb, I took a few minutes to sit down and enjoy the gentle breeze, beautiful views, and peaceful quiet, while snacking and letting my sweat evaporate off my skin.
Then I hiked down and over to South Hancock, with perhaps a tenth of a mile of 12″ snow monorail in the shade between them that was easy to navigate in my trail runners. I went down to the South Hancock lookout and enjoyed the newly emerging green leaves I could see for miles, and then began the steep descent. This descent had me a bit nervous, as I’d found my weary, unrecovered legs weren’t quite as quick to respond to my body’s requests and weren’t always landing quite where I wanted them to. It went fine, but my body found the effort much more difficult than it usually would. I was very glad to see the Kanc when I finally emerged from the woods near my car.
As I tried to figure out my next steps (where to sleep, what to hike next, why I couldn’t stop moving), I decided to sit at the picnic table, cook dinner, and relax as the sun slowly moved towards sunset. The old rhythm of end-of-day meal prep and cooking helped me to settle on a plan for the evening and the next day.