Headed up to catch Mount Superior just before sunset last night. Got off trail once or twice on both the ascent and descent and lost some time on both. I wasn’t worried about it though – having sagely remembered to bring a light coat along to keep the cold at bay. Except that cold wasn’t the problem this time, even on the summit.
By getting off trail and losing precious minutes, my perfectly timed adventure got off schedule. Suddenly what I needed was a headlamp. Nope, didn’t pack that. Guess I’m not so sage after all. Moving steadily and quickly, I descended the trickiest scrambles with plenty of (fading) light. Daytime was giving up its direct light by the time I passed the Black Knob, but I could still make out the trail pretty well.
At this point, the only real goal was to make it to (or past) Cardiff Peak at ‘fully dark.’ Just managed that, and from there the trail offers no exposure. I calmly jogged down the invisible trail, using Zen powers to feel the way and land my feet without rolling an ankle or doing other damage. Suddenly the half moon was lighting the way; not quite as well as a headlamp, but I was grateful for Nature’s guidance.
The exit from that point was reasonably well lit except for patches of shadow where trees blocked the light. It was so serene. I thought I’d catch a few animals out, but there was nothing except for the occasional spiderweb across my legs. Quiet – no traffic in the canyon, no headlamps bobbing in the distance anywhere, no one out. It was real mountain tranquility, just off the road. Easy access to a fine experience like this is one of those weird things I enjoy about Utah. Not that I’d recommend it, but leaving the headlamp out of the equation made for a kinda sweet mountain experience (on a known trail).