How’s that for a catchy title, eh?
Monday was spent in the Catskills hiking with Paula, to celebrate her birthday, and boys and girls did we get lucky with the weather! It was the most perfect Spring day, filled with warm sunshine and blue skies- I swear I must of been a plant in a past life because I still feel like a little photosynthesis happens each sunny day. It gives me the pep in my step that I sometimes need when the mountains get tough. Real tough.
Back to the hike… we were first thinking about doing the Slide, Cornell and Witenberg loop however, our minds were made up that that wasn’t happening when we saw we’d be walking the last 2+ miles uphill on a road. No fun and nothing exciting. So then we decided that we’d hike in to each mountain, then simply turn around. Hiking three mountains but claiming five peaks (with the out and back). Off we went.
We took the Curtis-Omsbee Monument path to Slide Mountain because Paula had read that there were better views despite the slightly longer trail- totally worth it! The trees were just beginning to bud and in sections we could see for miles. The trail was easy on the body (not a lot of rocks) and we both enjoyed all of the sprouting flowers along the way. Before we knew it, we were at the peak! It looked like there had once been a fire tower up there with the giant concrete block we passed.
We barely took a break and headed over to Cornell Mountain… and that’s when Slide Mountain got serious. There were numerous sections that we had to climb down that made us pause and think, “okay, how am I going to do this?” Being someone who is afraid of heights, I was shaking like a leaf on the two wooden ladders and on this rock shown, I had to take a couple of breathers to prevent myself from breaking down into tears. Gotta do one thing a day that scares you, right?
Before we knew it, we were heading back upwards to Cornell, and pushed through to find two gentlemen enjoying the peak with their toes in the sun, trail mix and a cigar. The one older guy seemed super in shape and experienced, but I guess 35 years of hiking will do that to ya! It made me think, I want to be 60 and bragging about seeing the country on foot over the past 35 years! After a few minutes of catching up, we left them to enjoy and moved forward. I was full of energy thanks to a PB&J earlier on the trail but it didn’t prepare me for what we then stumbled upon: Cornell’s Crack.
No joke, a twenty foot crack in some pretty huge rocks, with no foot or hand holds to scramble down using. I’m not a rock climber nor do I want to become one. This crack scared the crap out of me. We both thought outloud that yes, we could hurl ourselves down and continue forward, but could we make it back up? No effing way!
After assessing a second option (but way more dangerous) and actually sitting down to see if we could do this, we both decided it wasn’t going to happen. That day at least. Yes we could have hurled ourselves over and done the loop, but mentally, it wasn’t in the books. Once I prepare myself for a specific trip, I tend to stick to it; that’s just the planner in me. So, back we went.
Not going to lie, heading back up Slide Mountain got brutal. By this hour, the sun was high, I was a little warm and tired, and now I had to climb up the steepest section of the day. I actually enjoyed the section that made up scramble, it not only challenged me mentally, but slowed our pace. We were greeted by a gentleman at the peak who snapped our photograph and onward we went. We took the shorter trail back and I must say, I didn’t prefer it. The trail was a little steeper than the one we took out and was very rocky- which makes your body ache a little more after a full day of hiking. It was a short trail however and before I knew it, we were back to the car.
Paula took me through Woodstock on the way home and I can’t wait to go back- it looks like a great little town. It was another successful day in the peaks to say the least! The two of us have much to look forward to:
- we are returning to the ADKs on the 20th to possibly hike Rocky Ridge
- we are hiking Memorial Weekend with a meet-up group to knock-out Gray, Skylight and Marcy!
- the first weekend in June we are volunteering to clean/maintain the trails in the ADKs- we have yet to plan what we’ll be hiking the following day
- and we have our first overnight trip planned during the July fourth holiday in New Hampshire: the 50 mile Sunapee Greenway trail!
…with of course the occasional “mountain Monday” thrown in. The high the mountains give me push me along through the week; and it only gets stronger the more I see and experience. Gosh, I’m in love with Mother Nature.