A Mountain of Fun!

Exactly a year ago today, I was joined by my weekend hikers on a strenuous hike of about 9 miles, in 43 degree weather, with 20 mile an hour winds.  Bundled with stocking caps, gloves, and layers of clothes, we ended up having a great time.

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Flat Top Mountain (Peaks of Otter)

 

Yesterday, this same group of women joined me on a 2 mile, easy uphill hike in 60 degree sunshine!  What a contrast!

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Buffalo Mountain

 

I’ve been to Buffalo Mountain many times, but on this trip we met a gentleman who has been doing this hike since he was a kid.  He was able to point out all the area landmarks so that, for the first time, the geography of what we were viewing, seemed clear.  We looked out from this mountain and were able to spot the Peaks of Otter where we had hiked a year ago.

We love being on top of a mountain, no matter how difficult or easy the hike may be.  That is the one constant!  Thank you ladies, you make me proud!

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(Pictures courtesy of Tiina Ruus and Laurie Buchwald)

 

A Strenuous Hike

Last night I had this brilliant idea that JG and I should get up early (4 ish) and go for an early morning hike – maybe even catch the sunrise.  He reluctantly agreed.  I woke up at 3:50 a.m. and decided to lay there just a little longer – which turned out to be 4:45. Okay, we might not see the sunrise on top of a mountain, but it’s still early enough to beat the crowds.

We decided on Peaks of OtterSharp Top.  This is a hike I had not tried, however, I have hiked it’s twin – Flat Top twice.  As we headed down the Interstate, we saw the fog interfere with the sunrise.

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We arrived as the first wave of early morning hikers were about to leave the parking lot.  I had not attempted this hike before because even though it is only 3 miles round trip, it is very steep, rocky, and every book has it listed as “strenuous.”  But today I was feeling frisky and while it was a major “huff and puff” going up, we made it.

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It was quite humid, so we are pretty much soaked by the time we reach the top. Even though it was a bit hazy, it was a very rewarding vista.

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It was a wonderful way to celebrate our nation’s birth.  I haven’t been such a proud American lately, at least not politically.  But the mountains remind me that there is so much more to this great country of ours than a few bad seeds in Washington.

Now I am completely exhausted and achy, so I plan to spend the rest of the day with my feet propped up.  Hope you all are having a good day!

Strong Winds, Stronger Women

After the warm, sunny day I had for hiking earlier in the week, it was quite a shock to wake up Saturday morning and find the temperatures had dropped, it had rained all night, and it looked like the winds were going to be steady at 20 mph all day.  I had a weekend hike planned for my working friends, otherwise I would have just gone back to bed and slept all day.  I checked the hourly forecast for our mountain and saw that there was no rain in sight, possible sun and a high of 53 degrees.

Knowing that one friend had ditched a conference to be able to join us, and knowing that it was the only weekend another friend could make it – I texted out the GO signal and was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone showed up at the designated meeting place.

Off we went to the Peaks of Otter!  Our destination was to hike Flat Top Mountain -it’s actually the less popular, so not as much traffic.  It really doesn’t look that impressive from down below.

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But it offers incredible views from the top.

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Pictures courtesy of fellow hiker and fellow blogger Laurie (LifeontheBike)

 

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And Tiina

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When you have two experienced photographers along, there is absolutely NO reason to pull out the cell phone.

 

Did I mention what a blustery day it was?  As we were walking up the trail, we heard a crack!  All of a sudden (as I watched parts of trees falling just beyond where we walked) it occurred to me we should be wearing hard hats.  Adding to the excitement, the trail is covered in leaves which, while very pretty, makes it a little treacherous as you cannot see the hidden rocks and acorns and honestly I don’t know what I would do without my hiking stick to help me keep my balance.

The sign at the trail head says 2.6 miles to the summit.

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That was the longest 2 miles I’ve ever hiked.  As we were trekking upward, a cute young couple was going down and the girl smiled at us and said “You can make it!”  Excuse me?? Of course we can make it, we are women! What the heck?  But the next (and last) part of the trail proved to be quite challenging, climbing rocks, making steep turns and wondering where that damn summit could be.

We did indeed make it to the top where we enjoyed our views, our lunch, good conversation and friendship.  These women continue to inspire me!

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Oh, by the way, when we got back to the Visitor’s Center we read that it was actually 4.4 miles to the summit – my knees will testify that that sign was more accurate.