Fuji Mountain

June 28, 2003

This year I decided to lead three hikes, up three peaks, in the Waldo Lake area: Fuji Mt., The Twins, and Maiden Peak. (Alas, The Twins was a no go as everyone opted for Brian Hoyland’s Grizzly Peak hike that day. Maybe I’ll try again next year because the view from the Twins is great.) One reason that I chose these three peaks was that each was on the course of a trail run that some friends of mine had started in 2002. I had done the first half of the course in 2002 as a relay runner, and had foolishly signed up for the whole race — 100 kilometers — for August 2003. Leading these hikes gave me an opportunity to get to know the course better, practice my hill climbing, and camp out and do a long run on the course on the next day. I am grateful to the car drivers on both trips, in that they freed me to stay in the Waldo area after each hike and camp out. These outings, along with a wonderful Obsidian summer camp in the Wallowas, the week before the 100 km race, proved very helpful. On August 16, I completed the 100 km and felt pretty good the whole way. I even found time for a swim at Charlton lake, halfway through.

Anyway, in late June there were still quite a few large trees across the upper 2¼ miles of the Fuji Mountain trail. There were even large patches of snow. This made this hike a bit of an obstacle course, but nobody seemed to mind. The view on top was great. Coincidentally, I noticed what looked like smoke over the shoulder of Maiden Peak, to the east of us. That smoke turned out to be the start of the 20,000 acre Davis Lake fire. On the way down, some of us cleared some loose tree debris off the trail. We all stopped at Birthday Lake where some of us swam. Surprisingly, there were few bugs (i.e. mosquitos) along the way. Camping at Waldo Lake that night, was a very different story .&nsbp;. . except when I went swimming again.

The speedy hikers that joined me (Bill Montgomery) on this great hike were: my wife, Beki Ries-Montgomery, Tom Woxell, Jane Bartell, Barbara Leinweber and Larry Huff.

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