All I wanted to do this week was climb to the top of a mountain. Any mountain at this point as I have been dealing with something that keeps me down. I had been thinking of Mount Willard... 2,865Ft and a 1.6mile trail. Small compared to what I usually hike. But small enough I might be able to summit.
It's a Saturday and I left my house a little after 8am. So much later than I usually leave to hike. But this is not a long hike at all so, after a cup of coffee and making myself one for the road, I loaded the car and headed for The Whites. I knew it would be crowded today since it is Saturday and as I thought, I'm parking on 302... Both the Depot, and the Highland Center are packed. It's .1 to the junction after the cross of the tracks and then we head up the Mt. Willard trail. So far, the trail itself is uncrowded but I assumed that everyone was already up there. Isis on the other hand was busy smelling markers for every dog that has hiked before her.
The trail is super packed. No snowshoes needed. A nice solid monorail to walk on. I wore my hillsound microspikes. Once the trail begins to climb the bulk of the elevation gain, I begin to run into people. Lots of people. Large groups and a few dogs too. Everyone was pretty happy. I pulled to the side for the larger groups and distracted Isis from a few dogs and everyones hiking poles. For the most part it worked. I will say one thing, I timed it pretty well. Once I made it to the summit, I was pretty much alone. There was one couple up there with their dog and I briefly lost it as I looked at the view. I explained to them my situation and they celebrated with me. It has been a long time since I saw a view from a summit. They wished me well and luck and left me to "take it all in".
Isis and myself were able to walk a good portion of the ledge that served as the summit. The view out to 302 was great as always. It's a cold day today and that froze my phone but, I had my camera as a back up for pictures. Isis also enjoyed the view and very calmly sat and looked out at one point. When she began to get cold, we headed back down. More large groups were on their way up and I was thankful my little trail partner knew when to get moving off the summit. The walk down is quick on the solid trail. This is a busy trail to a popular view behind the Highland Center so, this trail is always well maintained and packed down. Unless I decide to hike this one right after a storm, chances of needing anything more than microspikes is nil. Only one "water crossing" with a decent ice bridge over it. Easy trail for dogs too. 1.6 miles up takes no time at all. Except that it took me a little longer than I usually hike. A day well worth the 3 hour drive. Even for the 2.5 hour hike and 3 hour drive back. I was happy to feel the cold air on my face and enjoy the trails that I love so much.