I found a hiking friend who is also a traveler and for three weeks in a row our mutual day off was rainy and our hike was rained out. This past week we decided to go for it; we both had rain gear and decided to test it out.
As it happened, it was cloudy and overcast for our hike, but the rain stayed away. Nonetheless, we were PREPARED!
Earlier this summer, the Hubs and I hiked a nearby ski mountain, Mt. Ascutney in Vermont, and the day was hot, we had just arrived and neither Bandit nor I were in hiking shape, much less straight up a mountain. Red faced, sweaty and feeling defeated, I vowed to return and take back that mountain! Last week was that day. Ha. <cue laughter>
I wish I could tell you things went better. Actually, they DID go better. The temps were in the 60s and with the cloud cover and occasional breeze we were off to a good start. Having been up here for almost two months and more hills and elevation under my belt in that time, physically I was more prepared as well. It would be the day I exacted my dominance on that mountain. Ha. <cue more laugher>
One thing didn’t change: the mountain. The dang trail was STILL straight uphill. Wet in areas creating waterfalls (which was fun), humid so the gnats were aplenty—in my nose, eyes and once or twice swallowed, and straight uphill. Apparently this makes for good skiing, just not so much for good hiking. The scenery was still gorgeous, so we just stopped a lot to take in the views (and catch our breath and let our calves relax). A lot. We stopped A. LOT.
Exerting dominance. Pshh. <more laughing>
Fortunately, my friend and I found compatible hiking partners in each other which meant we both enjoyed frequent rest stops. We also made it much further than my first attempt at the mountain. Quite a bit further. Not to the summit though. But close……..
With the cloud cover, also came intermittent fog and the higher we went, we entered the clouds. One of the lookouts nearing the summit housed an old ski patrol building and a great view of the town below between the clouds. We determined from the map we had about 800-1000 feet to summit which would take approximately 45 min +/- based on our progress and couldn’t guarantee a view with the weather once we reached the top. So we called it.
I thought I’d be bummed about not making it to the top, but the purpose of the hike was to explore and enjoy the views and we did that. It wasn’t a contest. There was no medal or trophy. The “prize” was getting out there and doing it and enjoying the moment(s)—which is exactly why we came up here in the first place. Perhaps that’s what the mountain needed to teach me. (And a little humility—or a lot)