Saturday, March 17, 2012

Luck of the Irish

While none of us hiking today are Irish, we still had the Irish luck on our side!
Having spring fever and summit fever, I had the feeling which comes with that and that was to get high!  We picked Junction Hill as our destination with an objective of completing a loop in a counter-clockwise direction.  With map in pocket, track on GPS, distant memories of a prior trek, we hit the hill.  Hopes and expectations were for little snow, lots of brown, and a tiny bit of green.  Out of those three we only got the tiny bit of green which can be seen in the above shot.

On our ascent, the views were dull and erie.
We followed our planned route along the outer edges where we could see the trail head below. Yet at times we hugged the trees for safer travel due to deep snow, snow covered rock piles and cornices.  
I didn't have to pick the B&W feature on my camera, it happened automatically.
It took three and a half hours to reach the true summit.  Thigh deep snow at times delayed our progress.  We were lucky to have a warm temperature and no wind for our quick lunch break.    But before lunch, I wanted my summit shot.  I was so happy to be high, I felt like I wanted to do the Irish Jig!
After fueling, it was time to head down and carry on with the loop.  Not only did we head down physically but we headed down in other ways also.  I like to believe everything happens for a reason and I try to take away positive aspects then learn and grow from that.  I learned lots today and feel bigger because of it.

We all choose to abandon completing the loop for one reason or another.  A few of us decided it would be best to ascend back up to intersect our original ascent route then follow our beaten path back to the trail head.  When we reached the intersection, it was a relief. The sky opened up and it was almost like a reward for the hard work we just accomplished.  How lucky were we to now have wide open views where we could see forever.  It all began with the mountain tip peaking out above the clouds.
We still had a long way to go.
We needed to refuel again. 
We stopped for a short period to do that and to enjoy the well deserved view.  
Having added a couple of hundred more meters of elevation on our second ascent, I felt like I reached a summit again, so here is a second summit shot.  Now being able to see everything around us, I decided at this point that I want to come back one day and complete the Junction Hill loop.
We had one last portion of wide open space to hike through before hitting the forest for the final leg of the ascent.   Then we would be heading home down that road to the left.  I followed my friends and was wondering what they might be thinking about.
After seven and a half hours, we all met up at the trail head.   I'm glad everyone made it back safely.  It felt good to change into other clothes, sit down on the vehicle seat, have more food, and pop some Vitamin I.  I'm thankful to have had the Irish on our side today!

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