Smithfield Dry Canyon and Flat Top Mtn. all to myself
First of all, the stats on the main page are a little off. This hike is 9.4 miles round trip (not 7), and 3900 ft. elevation gain (not 4500), since the trailhead is around 5600 ft.
So, after reading about this mountain, I impulsively decided to tackle it in the afternoon after work. Taking a Reinhard Messner minimalist speed hiking approach, I decided to forego a backpack and carry only one small bottle of water. The main thing that bothered me about this was that I usually like to carry a pistol in my backpack for unfriendly varmints I might encounter along the way, but this once I chanced it without.
The great things about no backpack are:
1) you don't sweat as much, so you don't need to carry as much water,
2) so much easier to run without that jiggling extra weight.
I covered the first 2 miles in 31 minutes without pushing too hard, running a little, hiking a little, but then the climbing is very gradual in the first 2 miles. After the climbing started getting steeper, I still managed to run here and there, while mostly hiking fast. Achieving the ridgeline at 9000 ft. afforded terrific views of the large basin below, the Jardine-Elmer Cliffs across the way, and Naomi Peak to the north. Reckon there might have been some glacial activity here?
The mountain goat in me liked the final 500 ft. climb to the summit, steep but not too steep, and the rock is good to walk on. Baaa. So, it was 4.7 miles to the top and I made it in 1:48, still looking like I had a good bit of daylight left. After a few minutes of BSing around up there, I started flying down the mountain. All that daylight I had left ran out when I still had 1.5 miles to go. But as I've noticed in these northern latitudes, the sunlight lingers a long time after sunset, so it was pretty dark on me in the last half mile, but still not completely dark. I made it back down in 1:18. What a great way to spend an afternoon!
Growing up in hot and humid South Carolina with no air conditioning, I am well adapted to going a long time without a drink even while sweating a ton. I had no problem going 9.4 mountainous miles with only 12 ounces of water, but some people might not like to try this.
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