23.5 Miles in 6 Hours

Peak Summited2021 Santiago Peak
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadIndian Truck Trail
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition
Additional Informationhttp://www.instagram.com/christopher.pettyjohn

Departure: 6:30 am

Weather: Sunny, Clear, High 40's to Mid 60s

Total Distance: 23.53 Miles

Time to Summit: 3 hours 23 minutes

Time to Descend:  2 hours 35 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours 58 minutes 30 seconds


Well, simply put this was painful but worth it. I arrived at the beginning of the Indian Truck Trail at 5:45am and found a place to park on the adjacent street. After completing my typical warm-up routine I set out to conquer what was advertised online as a 20.5 mile trip with steady mild elevation gain. Within the first 5 minutes I had to drastically increase my pace from a light jog to a full-blown run as it was 48 degrees outside, and I had forgotten my long-sleeved undershirt which I normally wear in those conditions. After a mile of serious hustling I was nice and sweaty but not all that warm because a cloud layer was chasing me up the mountain. It was cold; I was cold; I pressed on trying to stay ahead of the clouds. Once I hit about 3,000 feet above sea level the clouds stopped their pursuit and I basked in the sunlight on the wide open trail.

Luckily, the gates used to open/close the trail to off-road enthusiasts were closed! This meant I wasn't chocked with dust from them passing by. My entire ascent I didn't see another soul and it was spectacular. I did see lots of coyote droppings, some mountain lion tracks, a few snake tracks and some live quail. The climb was mellow as it was spread over what ended up being 11.72 miles to the summit. After having a peanut butter sandwich, a couple Cliff Bars, and wandering the summit complex for a few minutes, I started my run down.

By mile 15 I could feel my calves burning from being ‘up on my toes' so much. By mile 18 my hips were crying. By mile 20 I was having interesting conversations with myself. By mile 23 I had run out of water; took a 2 liter Camel Back and 1.5 liter Smart Water with a bit of Gatorade mixed in. At mile 23.5 I reached my car and collapsed in relief.

It was a very long and fast trip to the top and back, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Anybody into Ultras or wanting to see what they're capable of should have a blast on this trail. Be warned, you'll need lots of sun protection as the vast majority of the trail is completely exposed with zero shade due to last year's wild fire stripping the trees bare. Go prepared and be prepared to enjoy yourself!

Happy trails!


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