**Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, yeah I know I shouldn’t have hiked/run the mountain. However, some things in life are worth it and this is one of them. I wound up coming home, taking a shower, taking extra asthma meds, and crashing for 2 plus hours. I will pay for this, but totally worth it.**
0400 this morning my alarm went off and I bounded out of bed. I can hear you now, why in the hell would you bound out of bed at 0400?? I was going to go climb mountains. More importantly I was finally going to get to show Sainted Mary Shenandoah!
0500 I was on the road making the two hour trek out to the mountains.
0650 We both pull into the parking lot having basically followed each other the last 15 miles to the park. As she got out of the car my jaw hit the floor. She was in shorts. It was 40 degrees at the base of the mountain and the top is always at least 10 degrees cooler. I relayed this to her. Thus started the “Sonofabitch” hike. As she attempted to call her husband to let her know we got there I let her know that we probably weren’t going to have signal until we got up the mountain a bit. We took a proof of life selfie, though, that I promised her we’d send him later. This btw is why I normally hike with my spot device it let’s my loved ones know I’m ok. However, it only seems to work when you turn it on (oops).
0700 We rolled out of the parking lot. We were within the first 5 cars in the parking lot. This is why we were starting early. I joked with her that we should enjoy the quiet because in a few hours the mountain was going to be crawling with a two types of people: 1.) The “let’s take Mom for a hike” people even though Mom never hikes and would much rather be at home taking a nap or 2.) The “I’m taking the kids out to the mountains” also known as “Dad has no idea what he’s doing” with all the Dad’s who brought the kids out to the mountains, alone, so that Mom could have some peace.
We hit the rock scramble and ran into a couple of 20 something guys who were obviously struggling a bit. “They don’t have mountains where we are from.”
“Oh yeah, where’s that?”
I snickered. They followed us for a little while, but in the end I think the combination of a heavy nights drinking and the elevation just slowed them way down because they didn’t keep up.
Mary popped into the lead and immediately headed off course. “Um, where are you going the course goes that way.” (points to blue blaze going in opposite direction and straight up)
As we ascended the mountain the clothes that we had taken off at lower levels came back on. I think I must have taken on and taken off my layers at least 7 times as we traversed different climate zones. As we neared the top the temperature bottomed out. Then we came around the corner and got pushed forcefully back onto the rocks. The wind was hollowing.
There was definitely no lingering at the top to enjoy the view today. As we headed back down to the trail split to take the fire road back Florida boys were finally summiting.
Mary and I headed jogging down the trail that leads to the fire road. The creeks were raging due to all the rain we’ve had in the last couple of days. We stopped at one of them and washed the salt off of our faces. As the trail widened, ultimately turning into the actual fire road only then did we start to see any people. First it was a trickle but by the time we crossed the last bridge before the pavement to the parking lot a deluge. As we jogged past them in my head I was sorting them by type. Mary turns to me and says, “You were so right.”
1100 Parking lot. We were both rungry. After a quick change of clothes and shoes for me (and a “I need to plan better.” comment from Mary) we were off to lunch. Yeah it was a good day.