A couple days ago, my daughter off at camp, my son and my spouse and I hiked up Camel’s Hump. It was a warm day, though cloudy, when we left the house. At the trailhead it felt cool, however. I was chilly when we started off. Of course, that is the perfect hiking weather. To start off a little cold means hitting the perfect temperature once one gets moving.
I have hiked Camel’s Hump too many times to count. I have come from every direction and hiked on every trail up there. The Long Trail crosses the summit and I have gone up and down that both ways. Back in the days when I ran much more I used to run a long loop up one side and down the other and back along the road by the river. That is still one of my favorite experiences. Point is, I have been up there a lot, and I still love it.
We saw only a few people. One hiker was going up the same way as us and a couple others were heading down. At the summit there was one man. His hiking poles (I won’t get into those here but hiking poles seem like an unnecessary accouterment for most people–I mean, do you really need them?) were tossed next to his pack. He was smoking, upwind on the sheltered side, so we either had to hang out in the wind or the nastiness. He was on the phone. The view was great but, given the circumstances, we did not linger.
We heard Bicknell’s Thrushes, three of them, which is always a rare treat, plus many other birds. There are lots of cones this year. The fir and spruce were laden. Looks like a good year to be a squirrel. The purple cones stood out against the blue of the clouds and the green of the new tree growth. The view up close was just as notable as the view off the summit.
Gravity helped us back down to the parking lot and we headed home for a late lunch, a little muddier, a little more tired and filled up with the wonder of a mountain I know well. You can’t hate a summer day like that.
It was hard to get up again this morning. Of course, I had stayed up late to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, the annual viewing that couldn’t be put off. And I did get up at 5:30. And it was dark on this solstice morning. But I did it, and was rewarded with bright stars and a good run, despite the dusting I got by a few passing cars. After I got home, the sky turned pink before the sun peeked over the mountains at about 7:40.
The sun stayed out most of the day. It was a cold one but it did get up to 23 degrees. Heat wave. It was bee-yoo-ti-ful in the afternoon, short as the afternoon was. The sun shone on the snow in the mountains. And the sky was clear. It was good for a peramble out into the field with my son. We ogled the view:
A Little Snow Close, A Lot of Snow Up High
Camel’s Hump was wearing her finest. Here is what she looked like a little closer:
Snow on the Hump
We followed some coyote tracks for a while. They were old and faded and disappeared on us. And we saw turkey tracks as well:
Prints in the Snow, Turkey
The days get longer every day now. I was envisioning, literally, running in the morning without a light. It will be nice to be able to run faster since I won’t be afraid of slipping on ice. It will be nice to not worry as much about being seen by drivers. It will be nice to see what is around me a little more. I love the darkness, and heck, I’ve got lots of it left. It will be a couple of months before I’m looking at brighter mornings at the hour I get up. The sun will rise again tomorrow. The days will go on. Happy solstice. Let’s celebrate some light.
This morning it was snowing. It was kind of a bummer of a morning to fail to rally to get up early for a run, but my head was squeaking from all the pressure in my sinuses. I stayed in bed. There was white stuff on the ground, so we were all happy to look out and see it in the morning light. My son was literally jumping up and down in front of the window shouting, “My dream came true! My dream came true! It snowed last night! It snowed!” He was happiest to see the new precipitation it seemed.
It was coming down hard for a while, especially when it came time to drive. That was a bit of a snow and slippery event. Here is a shot of the scene before we fired up the old automobile:
Finally, some snow on the ground
By the afternoon, it had cleared. In fact, it was a stunning day. Check out Camel’s Hump, all decked out in her December finest:
Perfect December Day
Tomorrow we are looking to get some more weather. Snow is predicted to fall overnight and make morning driving a little sketchy again. We shall see. I never want to get excited for the possibility of a storm. I have been disappointed too many times. At least here. When we lived in the mountains we had the opposite situation–we would get lots of snow when only a little was forecast. But one can’t have it all. We never had the view above when we lived up high. I do hope we get more snow tonight. I will try to keep my fingers crossed, even when I am awake in the wee hours blowing my nose. Ah, winter.