|Al, Jonelle, Carol, Peggy, Bob, Chris, Rich, Noriko, Rita, Char|
Today, twelve Senior Trailblazers went out to conquer the lookout area of Church Mountain, now that the snow is gone. In early July, we had lunch right around this spot in the meadow, on top of snow. You can see what it looked like here
. This is the third time this season we have visited the Church Mountain area, but until today, it was impossible to get any farther than this area, because of all the snow. Today we were snow-free. And the flowers! They were pretty incredible.
|Hiking right into a cloud|
Although the fog made it possible for us to keep from getting overheated, it also came and went all day long and robbed us of a full view of the mountains. But as we trudged up the trail, I was secretly thanking the Weather Gods for the cooler temperatures. It was muggy and on the warm side every time the sun broke through.
|Pink monkey flowers in abundance in the meadow|
We were thinking that the sun would burn the fog away by the time we reached the top. Our destination was the spot where a lookout cabin once stood, which was more than four miles from the trailhead and up almost 4,000 feet of elevation. Like I said, I was happy that the sun kept being obscured by fog now and then. But every once in awhile, on our way up, we would see the fog begin to clear.
|Mountain beginning to appear (picture taken by Char)|
Doesn't it look like any minute the clouds will blow away? But it was not to be. We continued our climb to the top, which includes about a 50-meter scramble at the very end. This caused a few of our members to stay below. Here's the spot before you begin the final hand-over-hand scramble.
|Rita, Chris and Char, with our dramatic view behind them|
Well, we never got those clouds to clear off, but those of us who made our way carefully up those last few feet, stopped here to have our lunch. Char took this picture of Rita and me before we sat down to enjoy our repast. It doesn't really look as scary as it felt, but once we were here, we were ready to stop, put on some more clothes to keep our sweaty bodies warm, and have our well-deserved lunch.
|No view, but two intrepid hikers ready for a nice lunch|
After a leisurely lunch, those of us who went up here carefully made our way back down those scary ledges to join the others. One thing you have to say about Church Mountain: the uphill never lets up, and the reverse is true upon the descent: it was hard on my knees to keep going down and down, with no slackening. I finally put my knee brace on, but I made it quite a long ways before I had to give in to the inevitable.
|Fireweed looking pretty|
I caught this picture of the fireweed on the way down, with the clouds continuing to give us peekaboo views. By the time we reached the forest, having traversed these beautiful flowery meadows, we had almost full sunshine. But we just kept going in the dappled sunlight through the trees until we reached the cars. We had gone nine miles or so, with all that uphill and downhill, and we were all ready for a treat.
|Rich, Rita, Char and Bob enjoying their ice cream|
By the time Al's car had arrived at Graham's in Glacier, these four were already busy enjoying their ice cream cones. I went right in and got mine, so I could also enjoy the one thing that I allow myself on Thursdays: ice cream! Boy, did it taste good. And now I'm home enjoying my wine as I finish up this post. It was a great day, a little tired but feeling very accomplished right about now!
P.S. I got a note from the doctor that yesterday's CT scan was normal. Thanks for all your good wishes!