Feeling motivated and invigorated after yesterday's hike up to Cox Hill then having a great night of sleep in my new tent, I woke with still some energy to spend so was raring to get going this morning. In cases like this, my go to hike is to hit Prairie Mountain. It is about the only one I feel safe soloing right now. I was the fifth car parked at the trail head, two of which were bikers, so I knew it would be sparsely populated up there and I like it like that. I began hiking at 8:29am. It was fresh & cool for the first 30 minutes, then the layers came off. Then the sleeves got pushed up and the pants rolled up.
Time in the trees seemed to fly by and before I knew it, I reached the wide open section. This is the spot that gives me the tell tale sign of what the summit might be like. There was next to no wind, the sun felt warm and the trail was clear and dry.
I met a fellow on his way down and three ladies packing up after their summit visit. There was no one else in sight. I have been having loads of luck with my Prairie Mountain visits lately. I had outright ownership and I like it like that. I took time to get a fun summit shot. This portrays exactly how I felt, pleased and content.
After taking care of the summit business, I headed beyond the summit and followed the ridge.
I made my way quite close to the end, just before where it dramatically drops down. My yoga pose is framing Moose Mountain. I really enjoyed this spot and believe it to be a better lunch stop spot then the actual summit. Yet today, it was still very early and I wasn't hungry.
After a little visit on the edge, I retraced my steps back to the flag. You can see it right of those trees in the lowest dark cloud mid photo. This side trip was an opportunity to add on a tad more distance and elevation gain. I would have preferred to do the Prairie Mountain Loop. If you were with me I would have, I won't solo it.
closer to the summit
As I approached the summit, the population of it was beginning to grow. I sat for a few minutes to the side which was enough. It was time to leave and let the multitude of folks enjoy the space. It was now chilly and windy so layers were needed. It paid to be at the top before 10:00am. That lingering cornice is still hanging around. This is the last view before heading back into the trees to take care of the steep descending business.
I was methodical in my descent. That anniversary is approaching and I am not into a repeat performance. While the distance covered between yesterday's and today's hike is not big, I will though acknowledge the total elevation gain. Maybe Saturday and Sunday hikes are no longer a thing of the past.