We parked her near the road closure gate pictured at the center of this photo (right below the lavender-colored “1” in a square) west-by-northwest of the Highland Lookout, a fire lookout at times of extreme wildfire risk.
Once we had conquered Red Mountain, we got an idea of what was still awaiting us: Monument Peak (10,136ft / 3.089m) followed by a hilly traverse–with Emerald Lake (lower left) at its feet–and, finally, Table Mountain (10,223 ft / 3.116m), visible in the background. I had estimated the total duration of the hike–including breaks–to be around six hours, but at this point it became clear that it would likely take longer.
This photo shows the terrain around the ridge that connects Red Mountain and Monument Peak: rocky and–and least for my taste–pretty challenging. Harry, in contrast, moved around like a reborn caterpillar. Note the peak of Red Mountain in the background.
We made it: atop of Table Mountain. The ascent took four hours and five minutes, about an hour more than I had anticipated. The crux: while I had packed the camping stove and a dried meal (vegetarian chilimac), I had forgotten to bring a lighter. As a result Harry and I were down to two hard-boiled eggs, a quarter-pound of red grapes, and two mango bars. Taken together, this ration simply didn’t contain enough calories. By the time we had scaled Table Mountain, all we had left were a few grapes and one mango bar. Let me assure you: I’ve learned an important lesson about proper preparation.
Both of us were exhausted (Harry really only lies down when he’s at home on “his” couch in DC — or dog-tired) but we managed to get back. It wasn’t pretty, but thankfully the clouds didn’t get gloomier and the thought of a hot meal pushed me forward. The return took us a little over three hours; in total, the hike was almost eight hours. The chilimac ranked among the best dinners I’ve had in months, and that’s not because of how it tasted. Back in his automobile crate Harry kept licking his paws, but he seems to be fine overall. Both of my hands are burned from sun exposure (I was hiking with poles) and my legs feel like lead, but otherwise I’m alright, too.