Thursday, August 20, 2015

Another fine day at Church Mountain

Joy's hands, Diane, Kirk, Susan, Bob, Doug, Al
Fifteen Senior Trailblazers gathered this morning to hike up one of our favorites: Church Mountain, with every possibility of making it all the way to the summit (around 9 miles and 3,800 feet elevation gain and loss). But first we needed to make it to our first view, and often our destination: the meadow.
Our first view of the meadow
This place is about three miles into the hike, and it was overcast with low fog but with every possibility that it might lift before we went much farther; in actuality the fog never gave us a view of the mountains. We went up at the same time last year, and even though we didn't have a great view then, it was even more socked in today. But the fog helped to keep it cool as we ascended.
Notice how dry it all is
We decided to let the fast hikers head on up first, and the rest of us would follow along a bit more slowly. That would be me, as I'm not in as good condition as I was two years ago, when I made it to the summit with the others. But back then we also had a great view, and today there would likely be nothing to see, so little reason to get there.
Blanket of fog rolling in
Every time it seemed like the fog might lift, it would begin to roll back in, as you can see in the picture above. Once in awhile I would look up from my feet and see that it looked as if the clearing was imminent, with bits of a view, but then we would suddenly be caught in a whiteout again. With ten of my fellow hikers ahead of me, I continued to trudge upwards.
Carol and Peggy stopping for lunch
When I reached this spot, I saw that Carol and Peggy had decided to stop here for lunch, as it was a little after 12:00pm. Al and I decided to stop here, too, while Lisa continued to the summit. I didn't see what the point would be to push myself to join the summiteers, when I had good company to share my lunch.
After a satisfying lunch
As you can see in this picture, the clouds didn't clear, but when I joined them by resting in the grass, I found that it was very warm from the radiant heat making its way through the clouds. The summiteers would have to pass us when they began back down. It was not far to the summit, but Al decided to rest instead of going upwards, so I did too.
Al's post-lunch snooze
You can clearly see the trail ahead, but we didn't have much desire to peel ourselves off the slope and join them. Soon the others began to descend, one or two at a time, and then we all began our final four-mile downhill trek to the parking lot. The four of us fell in and our trip to our starting point for some reason seemed much longer than the trip upwards. We laughed about the phenomenon we call the "trail stretcher" that makes the return seem so much longer than the beginning.

We finally made it to the cars and all headed off to Graham's for our ice cream before heading back home.  Now that I am at home with my wine half consumed, almost eight miles and 3,000+ altitude gain and loss under my belt, I am feeling very happy and glad to have gone out with my friends today. I am busy counting my blessings as I post this. Yes!


  1. 'trail stretcher' - i like that term. i like the 'stretching out along the trail' method myself. :)

  2. Sometimes you don't have to make it all the way to the summit. Especially if there's nothing to see. I like your idea of a mid-hike nap! And yes, I use the term "trail stretcher" too!

  3. It looks like this trail took a ridge. We used to do what we called ridge walks. I've been on some narrow ridges where there was exposure on both sides.

  4. Al just looks as if he was meant to be there! :)
    Great photos, DJan. I think it would be wonderful to be a part of a group like this one day.

  5. I jumped back to your last year's post, and just as I thought, you had fresh green meadows and flowers last year.
    We were at 90 again yesterday, but an onshore flow brought us a bit of rain and clouds this morning. It was refreshing, even if it did wipe out your views.

  6. I am always fascinated by how much longer a trip feels in one direction. I hadn't thought about it applying to hiking - but of course it is even more relevant. Enjoy that totally deserved glass of wine...

  7. I am with you about not pressing on to the top for no other reason than just getting there. That meadow looked an ideal place to rest.

  8. Well, you are intrepid enough without proving to all of us that you can make it to the summit.

    I like this type of hike anyway. So, 4 miles is your maximum now?

  9. That's odd. I always thought going up was the long part and the down part a piece of cake but then I am not a seasoned hiker like you are. Good to see Al taking it easier and that you followed along.

  10. The lunch and rest part looked wonderful. Eight miles uphill and down is an accomplishment. you deserve the wine!

  11. Eight miles is a great accomplishment, I did a mile and 3/4 today and came home and had a nap:)

  12. I like the way you take all you ups and downs in stride. Sorry to hear that things were foggy, but you seemed to have a good time.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

  13. I don't recall you having nap time in your hikes very often!

  14. I love seeing the windflowers and the fog rolling in. It looks magical.


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