Fall 2023 Roadtrip Day 4
This is a multi page adventure. To read from the start please visit the Day 1 post! Otherwise, enjoy! And feel free to comment.
The big hike! We packed and left the Smoke Hole Motel quite early.
The morning fog was rolling up the mountain as we prepared to leave the Motel and head for the trail.
The morning fog was rising along the side of the mountain as I packed the van up. We began the trail a little after 9 am.
Whisperin' had some muscle pains early on, so I ended up carrying both our little one in his carrier on my chest, and the gear pack on my back. I did this for almost a mile up the hill, and about 1000 feet.
At which point Whisperin' said she thinks she could help carry our little one. But I still carried the additional bag which was fine. I'll admitt that carrying my son, and the pack was tough. It was essentially hauling 50 or 60 lbs up the hill in stead of just 30 lbs. But I was pressing forward, though I did find I needed more water to keep my muscles hydrated.
The first mile or so of the hike was a fairly steady 15% to 20% grade. The path was a simple trail like you would find in a local county forest. The incline wasn't horrible by any means, but the constant incline did require several stops to take breaks.
The second part of the hike happened after you reached the first overlook. From there we could see the Motel where we had stayed the night before. I peed over the edge of the rock cliff and it was quite fun. Whisperin' and I both played it safe and didn't venture closer than a few feet from the edge.
We were able to see the summit from here, and it seemed like it was still so far up. Even though at our current elevation it seemed like we were level with some other mountains.
The hike from this point on became a little more technical. There was a fine white sand which made for nice footing in some parts along the path.
The sand was formed from the wind hitting the rock face of the cliff, and blowing the sand upwards over the ridge. But there was also a fair amount of rocks and roots which we had to navigate around. The incline was about a steady 20% grade for this portion.
The dynamic terrain and the views however made it a little more interesting, and seemed to take a little longer as we did stop more often, but there were views to take in and that was fun.
Eventually we made it to the 'goat path' which is the main route to the Summit. This is a steady 35% grade upwards for about 500 feet in trail length.
At one point half way up, my leg muscle crampped up instantly, and I collapsed in place on the trail. I knew I needed to drink more water to hydrate it, and I did, and after a couple of minutes it felt better and I was able to continue on.
We reached the top and it was amazing. My altimiter said I had climbed 1991 feet, but I know for about 200ft it had paused it's self, so I will say it was over 2000ft of incline. While we didn't feel adventurious enough to climb to the top of the rock towers, we did enjoy the views from the main clearing at the top along side the rock tower.
We met Tim and his dad at the top. They were lovely to chat to. Tim and his dad were local, however Tim now lived in Austin, TX now. They said they had attempted to climb the mountain in the past, but couldn't and tried it again this day and finally made it.
Was good to see a father and son getting out and adventuring. There were others we met on this trip too. Two solo females, each hiking with a golden retreiver.
And a couple of larger groups of college aged adults. Only two other groups seemed to be as prepared as we were, with full packs. Both of them seemed to be planning to camp at the top overnight.
The trek down the hill went fairly well. Made better time for sure, but also made good use of the treking poles. I found that it was easier for me to go down steeper grades as a jog, using the trekking poles to slow myself and steady myself on rougher terrain, than it was to try to slow myself down and use my knees and ankles to try to slowly descend.
We were done by 4 in the afternoon, and began heading back up to PA for the next night's stay.
The trip to PA was not fully planned out, but Whisperin' did a good job navigating. We got into Johnstown around 7 pm, and slept quite a bit. I know I needed a hot bath a few times for my poor leg muscles. This concluded our adventure. The fifth day ended up just being a drive back home.
We conquered our first mountain! Wolf planned the adventure and ensured we had supplies. He wanted to start very early but we started a little bit later. I wanted to sleep in on my birthday, to rest, especially after a babycakes wakes up in the middle of the night. We hiked up about a half hour the day prior but today we planned to reach the top. There seemed to be 3 difficulty levels of the mountain. The first part was "easy", then it got a little rockier/uneven. The third part was the steepest. I didn't know how it would be possible to make it down without gettting hurt. We attempted to get down a less steep way, but the path was unclear. We backtracked and saw the pretty views again. Anyway, the trek up the mountain was difficult for sure. We took turns carrying babycakes up the mountain. The climb took a toll on our bodies. We brought enough snacks and water and diapers. It was very cool to look to our left while climbing the mountain and see the mountain in the distance. To compare where we were. It was also encouraging to see the sky through the tops of the trees as we got cloer to the top, like there was nothing higher (at least in that area). Climbing up was difficult in it's own way while coming down was difficult on the body in another way. We made it, we did it! In the evening we both wanted a relaxing bath but slept great at the hotel.