The hike begins at the trail head on Reservoir Road and ending at a point called The Pinnacle. It is a steep five mile climb and for me, a great way to test myself for the outdoors. I figure if I start to suck air, pass out and fall over, then I'm not in very good shape. Though I am kidding, I do value this hike as a way of seeing how fit I'm feeling beginning a new season.
With many days of snow and bitter cold temperatures this year, I left the AT winter hike for the more hearty souls. I am outdoors shooting photos and video all winter long for work in zero degree weather. The last thing on my mind was to climb a mountain. I was content to tweet and follow hikers who were trekking around the country.
The Pinnacle is the first challenge of the year. It is is truly how I gauge the days ahead. I'm hoping all the shoveling, deep snow walking and constant effort have kept me in half decent shape even as I graze on whatever I can find in the refrigerator. Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through this hike but the view is well worth the sweat.
At the parking lot we start up a gravel section until you round a bend and then split off at a fork on the trail.
We prefer the tree canopied white blaze trail to the left, with steep ascents and switchbacks. Short flat sections are part of the climb and this helps to keep me moving without tiring.
There is also another way to the top which is a wide lane to the right and a point where star gazers drive vehicles up hill to small private observatories. This is a very tough climb and one that wears me down. We did this section on a hot and muggy summer afternoon last year and stopped several times to catch our breath.
So instead on this spring day, up the white blaze trail we go. Let's face it, I've been walking this stretch of land for nearly thirty plus years and it's still up hill all the way. We do take the time to watch a millipede or salamander. On a rare occasion we will spot a deer but luckily so far we haven't crossed paths with a bear.
Most of the time we are just slowly plodding along, talking and walking content to be out of town and in the woods. After several miles we enter a small meadow and pick up the blue blaze trail which will take us to The Pinnacle. This part of the trail narrows and is blanketed in rocks. I'm more careful not to turn an ankle on this section as it's a long way to hobble back down to the bottom.
There will come a day when I will have to turn around, failing to make it to the top. But for now, I look far into the distance from my perch at the top of the world knowing that I passed my test for another year. And then I realize, I have five more miles to go, but luckily that it is all down hill.