I had the day off and it was predicted to be the warmest day of the year so far. What does a guy do? Maybe sit inside with the AC cranked up, go to the beach, go shopping, crabbing, fishing... Nope, how about enjoy some of the fine switchbacking up Mount Dickerman.
I planned to go up Dickerman on my day off for a good workout and great views. I made these plans before the weather was predicted to be in the upper 80's and low 90's in some places. So the plan to have a normal start date, turned into waking up at 2am. HUH? I wanted to get up there before it might be a postholing extravaganza or the temptation to suck the waterfall dry of thirst. Plus, the thought of maybe catching the sunrise was an added bonus. The sunrise thought was kind of a stupid idea, next time I will just camp on a summit "or close to one" if I want to see a dang sunrise.
Anywho, 2am came way too quickly and slowly I was out the door just a touch before 3. I was soon at the trailhead, gear on and ready to go at 4am. The temperature was already pushing 60 degrees.
I headed up the awesome switchbacks for seemingly forever. I knew that I wouldn't catch the 5:15am sunrise on the summit, unless I was on a scooter... well, scooter probably couldn't make it but you know what I mean.
I got to the waterfall about 5am and it had became lighter, but the mornings alpenglow hadn't showed up yet. When I reached what I guess is the first meadows or open area the peaks to the south started to glow red. It was beautiful and reminded me on why I decided on an early start. It was just past the waterfall I hit steady snow. The snow was surprisingly firm, even though the day before was warm.
I headed up the snow hike through the large meadows with amazing views all around. Mainly to the South, East and West at this point.
The bootpath is easy to follow, but once in the Meadows it becomes harder to follow an exact path. Looks like a lot of people have went their own way. I just head up the mountain, staying to the side of a couple glissading routes. Its pretty straight forward once things open up.
Morning SummitSoon I could see a large rock up ahead. Some of the snow was melted around it revealing some first signs of heather. It felt like the highpoint, so I went for it. When I got close to the heather, I skirted around it on firm snow and climbed the couple feet of rocky outcropping. I was surprised that it was the true summit. The views were amazing and there wasn't a cloud in the sky at 6:30am. I skipped over to a couple other highpoints just lower to where I was at. One to the east and a couple to the southwest.
The snow was in real good shape which made me super stoked. I found a real nice flat rock, ate some breakfast grub and took a nap in the sun. I woke up after an hour to a couple ants in my pants. Did some summit shakin around until I took care of it all. Thats what I get for untucking my shirt. It was a good sign that it was time to go. I knew there would be other fellow hikers coming up and I didn't want to look like some lazy lizard hogging up the warm rock. Oh, and there was a lot of black flys and skeeters up there... couple squirts of 100% DEET and they were gone. They must be weak right now or something. I have never seen them leave so quick. Always seems like once you squirt on bug spray, they start coming around.
Heading OutSo I headed down the mountain around 8am. I found a couple glissading routes and gave them a whirl. Pretty rough going, BUTT it made up some good times other than my burning cheeks from icy snow. Soon I was off the snow and taking pictures at some of the flowers just waking up. I passed 5 guys each on a solo hike up. Almost everyone asked if I was the guy that left at 4am. I'm not sure if they thought I was crazy or what.
Again, sexy switchbacks for days and eventually back to my truck. It was 9:30am when I got back to the parking lot. Wow, I still have the whole day off.
I raced home and then took my two little kids to the beach until 7pm. It was a long, beautiful day.