Thursday, August 21, 2014

All the way up Church Mountain

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!


  1. What a glorious trek.
    You definitely deserved the ice cream AND wine o'clock.
    Yay for the good results from the CT scan.

  2. A thousand feet elevation gain per mile is a steep ascent, and descent! And then a scramble! Impressive. And of course, you know I love the meadow flowers!

  3. oh i bet it did after that...but what lush and green...and the flowers...

    we had nasty fog here today as thick i had to go really slow this morning...

  4. I don't want to think about the descent. It makes my knees hurt. Carrying a knee brace is smart! This hike is a quite impressive.

    The news is good. That is wonderful.

  5. You passed through some beautiful meadows. One always wonders how many days it will be before the snow comes again.

  6. With all that hiking, you're gonna live forever, girl.

  7. I'm sure the wine tasted even better knowing the CT scan was good. Well worth the walk just to admire all the wildflowers.

  8. Sounds fabulous! Humid and foggy here today too a but no nice mountains to climb.

  9. The Fireweed is beautiful! Another great hike. Great news that your CT Scan was normal...therefore you must have a brain! Are you going to ask your eye DR. :)

  10. glad your head is okay!!! :)

    that 'peak' photo is scary looking to me. and you shouldn't be so stubborn about protecting your knee! :)

  11. You get to see some things that most of us do not, because you have the energy and stamina (and the desire) to do your trekking. Good for you!

  12. Beautiful flowers and greenery! Love all your shots! Thank goodness your CT scan was normal. Does the doctor know what causes your condition?

  13. Sounds like a wonderful hike! It does look a bit treacherous there at the top...

  14. Thought I recognized the place ... do you know, is fireweed indigenous or invasive to your area? (It's considered invasive in ours, but I like it.) And btw, congrats on your clean CT scan!

  15. The mountain, the wild flowers, the fog, the view, what a hike you completed, and the ice cream and wine were well deserved.
    Glad to hear your CT scan is clear.

  16. I don't know if I'm tired, lazy or both. I live in the Mt. Washington Valley of N.H. & there are 48 peaks to climb in N.H. (many hikers aspire to that goal) and I don't seem to want to get out & hike ever. We are currently on the coast of Maine (mid-coast area) and I've been doing a bit of walking and it makes me feel great. At home, I go to the gym & keep up a semblance of an exercise routine; weight training 1-2x monthly, cardio wkly, ballet barre class wkly & I've been doing TRX but that is getting away from me because the father into it you get the harder it is. Balance is a big problem since I've had both hips & 1 knee replaced over the years. I'm whining about my lack of ambition but I do find you and your friends endlessly admirable in all you do.

  17. Beautiful flowers, awesome fog, and great news from the doctor. Sounds like a good day.

  18. Glad to hear that the scan was normal. Hope your eye will take note of that--LOL!
    Monkey flowers! I had to google them to see some up close. Love all the flowers and the scenery--even the clouds--but the heights--whew! You are a braver soul than I. The only thing I could probably have handled well that day was the ice cream cone--LOL! ;)

  19. Looks like a bit of a climb, in the fog, no less. But you survived, again, and had a good time in the process.

    One question: was the Church at the top or bottom of Church Mountain?

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

  20. Glad you got a good report. Now you can just keep trekking without a worry in the world.

  21. Great news about the scan. Does he have a clue what the cause is?
    When ever I see Mother Natures flower display, it so out shines what even skilled gardeners come up with.

  22. What a gorgeous climb. I love the idea of hiking through the clouds. So cool! The flowers look so beautiful.

  23. AND what a relief that the CT scan was normal.


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