After a long searching through what seemed like a maze of backcountry roads, I became determined to make a detailed account of how to get to the trailhead. At 4:30 in the morning, we still hadn’t found it, and so concluded to crash at the present location for the night.
I awoke to a clear, bright day. It was peaceful with the birds chirping and the breeze rustling through the pine trees. We wanted to get on the trail sooner rather than later, since we had no idea what the trail was going to be like, or the weather for that matter. Our 8am wake up got us going. We retraced our tracks for a while before spotting a fisherman near a pond. He gave us some sketchy directions back up the road, but we decided to take a chance on them anyway.
We found the fork in the road where, the previous night, we had mistakenly chosen the right fork, which took us up and away from our destination. By taking the left fork, we quickly made it directly to the trailhead.
It was 8:45am by the time we stepped onto the trail and signed the registry of Nevada’s highest peak. There, we met the only other hiker around, a guy named Dan from Pennsylvania. He was taking a vacation from his job in Yosemite. We ended up hiking the entire trail together.
The actual trail up to the peak pretty much disappears after the sign, but the summit is visible from the valley and so there’s no worrying about becoming lost. The only task is to maneuver oneself through a maze of shrub oak. Winding ourselves through this maze was rather peaceful as we climbed the gentle incline towards the saddle. If there was a trail after that, we failed to find it. I aimed right for the saddle. The trail steepened after emerging from the majority of the shrub oak, where the small forest of trees rises to meet the saddle.
The wind became wickedly powerful as we approached the shoulder of Boundary Peak. It would whip itself around me, knocking me off balance, as I’d try to cover my ears from their freezing effect. It was cold as ice, and unbelievably powerful, and although the sun was bright, and the sky clear, the wind increased in momentum and bitterness the higher we climbed.
It was about 11:45am by the time I rounded the last of the steep stuff and took a leisurely jaunt to stand atop the summit. I was taken aback by the jagged peaks of nearby Montgomery Peak, giving me more to marvel over than Boundary Peak. The dark rock contrasted with the white snow and a brilliantly blue sky. What a sight! I think I even laughed out loud in amazement. Boundary was a bit of a disappointment in that respect, but Montgomery was all the way across the border into California, so I decided Boundary would have to do.
The wind was still fierce, but it did make for beautiful views from the summit. The clouds seemed to form a half circle around us, although miles away in the distance. They did not touch us once.
From the top, the Sierra Nevada mountain range was visible along the horizon. Their upper halves were still covered in snow, creating a sort of link from peak to peak. The mere fact that I was looking at them, made me think of my home on their western side.
After an hour of celebrating, photo capturing, lunch consuming, and resting, we headed back down the little bump of a mountain in this beautiful range. We took the western route down, as we could see a trail on that side of the mountain. It was easier going. There were some patches of snow that we slid down just for the heck of it. I was beginning to miss winter all over again. We made it down in 2 hours.
The hike had been well worth the effort to see the views from the top. There is always something more worthwhile at the summit that enables you to keep pushing upwards towards the top. At the beginning of every hike, as my body begins to exert itself, I ask myself why I am doing this, why keep going? Why push through the heat, the pain, and the tiredness? Yet, somehow, in all my thinking and convincing, I still move forward. I get to a point where I forget about the discomfort, and that makes all the difference. Then all I see is the goal, the summit, and that yearning to be on top carries me there.