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Fitness Hiking Peakbagging

Dooly Knob

Here’s Lark at the summit of Dooly Knob (5,278 feet), not the mountain we set out to climb. We couldn’t make it up Frary Peak, and turned around when we hit a snowy patch that neither of us felt comfortable attempting. It was a good lesson, and we had a great trip.

I decided Frary Peak would make a good first-summit-since-I-started-peakbagging, and a good hike for my daughter (age 4). While I got a lot right, I somehow missed that it was 3.5 miles one way, not RT. D’oh! Given that I was doing it with my daughter on my shoulders as much as possible, that was a big difference — and longer than I’ve hiked in one whack in about 20 years.

We started seeing snow around the 2 mile marker, and compacted snow on the trail around 2.5. At about 2.75 we hit one of the steepest spots, which looked like it went up to the false summit (radio tower). With compacted snow and a long drop to the left, neither of us felt comfortable continuing; we were scared we’d fall. Solo I might have tried it, particularly as I’d have been less tired, but being responsible for Lark as well I knew turning back was the right choice.

It was disappointing, sure, but we still had a great time. On the way back, we had time to summit Dooly Knob instead, a much easier hike that we completed with no problem. All told, 6.5 miles in 4 hours, 6 of it with Lark on my back. I was bushed.

I would love to have made it up Frary, but in retrospect I learned a lot from not making it, and from the trip itself. It makes a good benchmark for my own abilities, and hers at this age, and will help me decide what I need to do and learn before trying it again — and climbing other mountains in the future.

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