Never underestimate the little ones... I'll never forget this now. So, today I decided to explore Mt. Morgan and Mt. Percival. I needed to work with the ladders and figured that the ledges would also help as I prep still for the next section of the LT coming up in July. The pack is full (minus a full supply of food). I was the third car in the parking area and I am sure it will be full on return. The morning is crisp and I set out with Isis in my new hiking skort from EMS... I am never going back to traditional shorts. I loved it that much. I kept a long sleeve layer on due to wind and in the shade it was still chilly. The start of the Mt. Morgan trail is great. The trail is wide and while the leaves are plentiful, they are not slick. My trail runners are perfect for today. After a few muddy sections, we start to gain some elevation and walk through some beautiful hard woods. It's a perfect spring day. We reach the ladders on the Mt. Morgan trail and this is my test. I look at the first two and see clearly that I have some room to stand after the first one. Transferring to the third one would be tricky. So, I pick up Isis (who trusts me to no end) and we climb the first one. She's not too sure about this and I pause for balance. But I look at her and we back down the ladder. This is not right for us. I did not like the balance with my full pack and her so, I took the by-pass trail. I will do the same for the LT. Safety is first as always and while I am willing to try things, I am equally able to listen to myself. I would hate if anything happened to Isis because I tried to over step our comfort.
The Crawford Ridgepole trail is fantastic and reminded me of the section of the LT from Porcupine Look Out to Goddard Shelter. I was completely at ease walking over to Percival and enjoyed peak out views and some boulders to climb on and over. The trail runners have an excellent grip so, I'm feeling confident here.
We come out to the summit of Mt. Percival and find a few others have hiked up fro this side. We chat with them for a bit and get our summit picture taken (traditional with me holding Isis). The view is amazing here too and the rock face is warm in the sun but cool with the breeze. You can't help but smile today. I check out our descent and think we can manage the boulders from my view up high. On our return to the summit, everyone wants to know how Isis does on rocks and things and I tell them that she does well but I will only push her so far. We know we have a task to get down from Percival and I'm perfectly willing to backtrack if I need to with her but I will try it. Another dog arrives at the summit and Isis is not to thrilled with this one so, now is as good a time as any to descend. It starts out as if you are just walking off the peak. It's rather steep but I can maneuver the scrambles with enough space to pause and recover. Isis is also doing well. we get to a tricky spot where I need to take off my pack and drop it down. I go first and then Isis in my arms after a tricky maneuver to turn around and get her. I retrieve my polls and reattach them to the pack I also meet up with again. I'm ready for the next section that is a little more open. I'm feeling a little shaky after that tight squeeze and now I am staring at some pretty open spacing and a cave... full of ice... and snow. Not for not being prepared but more for Isis and my sanity I study the rocks. I try... Nope. Not secure enough and awkward to maneuver to get Isis down. I had said we were committed but here, I uncommitted us... We had to go back up and I was not happy. Back through that tight squeeze... My pack is FULL. I unclip Isis and hoist her first to a spot out of the way. Thankfully she sits and waits for me. I straddle the rocks and try and lift the pack up with little room to balance and hoist it over y head. It's awkward to fit through such a tight spot and get it far enough away that I can get up again. I literally spin it end over end through the tight squeeze and it lands far enough away and I am hoping my gear is not getting destroyed. I then squeeze myself through and awkwardly stand. My legs are shaking. I put the pack back on which is another awkward straddle and we continue. The scrambles open up at this point again and we arrive back at the summit. I think both of us swore and breathed a sigh of relief at the same time. I stop for treats... Lots of treats and I apologize for even thinking that was a good thing. Thankfully we have done the ledges on Camel's Hump on the LT and Mansfield and know what to expect. We'll be fine there as I know they are much more open. So, back over the ridge and I'm actually happy for this. I just really connected with this section of trail. We run into more hikers coming over the ridge and all are having a great time. Everyone's pretty respectful of my requests to not try and pat Isis who's still pretty stressed from our re-ascent of Percival. We round the trail and begin to descend Mt. Morgan feeling much better. (The following pictures are the descent and ascent of the Mt. Percival Trail)
Walking back the way we came, was just as enjoyable as doing the loop. The temps are perfect and the sun feels really warm. We stop a little more often for treats and I let Isis roll in the leaves a little more than usual. We land ourselves back at the car and to a packed parking area and I can feel the day in my legs. Once I carefully change to drive home (it's a busy ay here with kids everywhere!) we head for coffee. Isis sleeps the majority of the way home. She deserves it!
This week, I almost cut the top of my pinky finger off... In the ED, I asked the doctor "Can I still hike?" after he stopped the bleeding and had me bandaged up. Yes, it's that important to me. So, today was also done with a bandaged and protected finger (metal cap on my pinky). My point is that hiking and being outside is really important to me and I don't know what I would do if I could not be out here. I'm not the fastest, most agile, or graceful hiker. My dog is not the most well behaved or social dog... But none of that stops me. Today was the epitome of hike your own hike for us. We did what we could. Tried a few things we thought maybe we could do and we were OK with turning back and taking by-passes. I got my answers for when we hike the Long Trail coming up in July. Our route will be the easiest and least stressful route. After all, what good is something that stresses you out? I really just want to enjoy the sun and the trails with my reasonably well behaved dog. I'm at an age where it's not important to go on the longest hikes in a day any more or going out in outrageous conditions (like the ice age that is the Whites right now). But really, never underestimate the little guys. These peaks were under 3000 feet and had the potential to really do some damage. Today was a good day... What I have planned for later in the week will hopefully further satisfy my Wanderlust. See you on the trails!