Thursday, June 9, 2016

Church Mountain revisited

Church Mountain trailhead
It was exactly four weeks ago that I went on my first excursion with the Senior Trailblazers after my knee problems, to Church Mountain. It was a sunny day and we had 18 of us head up the trail. Today it was a much more manageable eight, partly because the weather was dubious, with the forecast for rain to start around noon and continue for the rest of the day.
Sylvia and Dick
We had two Trailblazers who have never hiked up Church Mountain before. Dick has gone with us on previous hikes, but this was Sylvia's first adventure with the Trailblazers. They are both strong hikers and I do hope they continue to grace us with their presence in the fiture.
Our trail to the meadow
As we trudged to the meadow, the weather stayed perfect for hiking, cool and mostly cloudy, with the occasional sunbreak as you can see above. Our first view is usually from this vantage point, but when I got there, clouds and fog obscured it all.
The meadow today
And then we emerged from the forest into the meadow. Four weeks ago, this entire meadow was under snow. We thought that it might be possible for us to reach the summit today, looking at the lack of snow as well as the lack of rain.
Stream crossing
But when we reached the stream, although most of the snow was gone, it was difficult to cross. We walked up and down it and some were successful in getting to the other side, but others didn't want to even try (I was one of them). The place where we had our lunch four weeks ago is the ridge at the tree line in the above picture.
Marsh marigolds and the stream behind
I captured this while I was busy trying to find a way across the stream. Finally, I gave up and those who had crossed over decided to come back and join us at our "summit" for the day, a small nearby hill. We found a fairly dry place for lunch, as we had an on-again off-again light rain by this time.
Our lunch spot
We didn't spend a great deal of time at this lunch spot, but enough for us to have a quick repast and then start back down the way we had come. We saw some deer tracks as well as what looked a lot like raccoon tracks in the snow. You can see there is still quite a bit of snow on our way up to the summit. This gives us an opportunity to try once more this summer to make it all the way up to the top.
Map, taken at the trailhead
In this map, you can see the paved road we followed to the trailhead, and then we meandered up the red dotted line to the stream. We hiked somewhere under seven miles and up around 2,700 feet before we stopped for lunch. Next time I hope we can make it all the way, but for today it was simply perfect.
Carol and valerian flowers
I asked Carol to stop for a minute so I could get a picture of her and the abundant valerian that has started to bloom on the side of the trail. Still no real rain, just a light mist, as we headed back down to the cars. The rain picked up a little just before then, but for us it was nothing, really. We piled into our two cars and went down to Graham's for our regulation ice cream, even though it wasn't hot.

Now I am home, happy to have had such a wonderful day, when I was unsure of the wisdom of a hike in the High Country as the weather was dubious. I was again reminded that you can never ever predict the outcome of a day in the wilderness by anything other than being there anyway.


  1. What a gorgeous setting for a late spring hike...:)

  2. glad you had a good outing. i hope your new recruits will join you all again.

  3. Another great hike, since you didn't say...I hope you knee behaved and you wore your brace:)

  4. I hope you manage to get to the top before the end of Summer. The meadow is an attractive place to walk across.

  5. I think I've told you before that I always enlarge your pictures. It makes me feel like I'm right on the trail with you guys. When I enlarged the one of your lunch spot, I noticed one person wearing "shorts". Wasn't he cold? My knees would have been freezing.

  6. I am glad your knee is healthy enough to go on these arduous hikes. Good cardio workout, too.

  7. Such a nice hike even when the predictions were not good. You're right. You just never know because the weather predictions are always just educated guesswork--LOL! I hope your new folks keep showing up. :)

  8. You take many wonderful journeys with a wide range of friends. It sounds wonderful in spite of the drizzle.

  9. A misty rain, not too cold and not too hot, beautiful scenery for a lunch break...and ice cream to boot. It all makes a perfect day.

  10. It sounds WONDERFUL. I like the Irish description for that sort of weather - a soft day...

  11. You're right - you need to show up and try. I liked seeing how much snow was still in the meadows. It would be impossible to summit any of our peaks just yet. There is a lot of white still showing. Glad your knee is up for hiking!

  12. Hiking is a challenge when weather is damp. However, I like to get up in the snow even if I get my feet wet.

  13. I'll bet it was satisfying to go back and hike that trail! Glad your knee is doing better.

  14. I sit on a couch in Bromley miles away and admire the beauty of the trail. I truly believe that each day regardless of the rain is one to cherish for nothing is predictable at any time or in any place. Glad you are enjoying uoy walks again.


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