Most of the hikes so far this year have not had much in the way of relief, but the spring weather has finally turned hot and the muddy trails have finally dried. So Francoise and I decided to tackle Bear Peak, which is a long steep hike, although not necessarily all that many miles. But the average difficulty factor on my hikes has been slipping of late–I grade hiking the Mesa trail as having a 1.0 difficulty factor for my purposes, both in terms of the quality of the terrain and the elevation gained. Hiking Bear Peak is a bit more of a challenge, and I have no doubt the first ascent of the year will make me too sore to hike much for a day or two.
The hike up began with another great photo-op–the same butterflies in Bear Canyon that I encountered the other day, sans camera. And since it was within the first mile, it was still in the grumpy ‘oh, this is going to be hot and difficult even if we did start early in the morning’ stage, before the limbs unwind and the body is convinced that it will be here, doing this for a while, hiking and walking uphill. I swear there are times when my body seems to act like a puppy on a hike, eager to run exuberantly up the trail at the start of the day, dragging behind the mind for the next bit of the trail, before gradually coming into rhtyhm with the mind and the will, the will that will have the body climb up this mountain. The phenomenology of the split-self metaphor hits us all, I suppose.
Bear Canyon trail is exceptionally pretty in the spring, though i do marvel that the power compant strang poles up the canyon. How on earth will they ever replace them? It finally tops out after the Green mountain trail intersection, and then comes the long slow traverse before the last push up Bear Peak, which is a bit of a scramble at the very top. Francoise had the good sense to wait below the actual summit at the junction with Fern Creek trail, but I made the scramble to enjoy the feeling of sitting on air. Unfortunately the summit quickly became rather crowded–someone was even trying to convice their dog to scramble to the top–so I bailed soon. Summits are better enjoyed alone.
There’s not much to say about the descent via Fern Creek, other than I was certain that my legs were going to hurt for a few days. Usually I like to do this route in the opposite order as I prefer a gentle descent, but c’est la vie.