I' already been hiking for a few hours, and the mountainside I gaze up at looks daunting. After a quick snack and a stretch, I set off, crossing more snowmelt-laden streams and scrambling up boulders. I can no longer see the peak, as the terrain becomes increasingly vertical. Patches of snow, small at damp at first but increasingly becoming larger and firmer hide small flows of water underneath. Individual patches begin to merge, the trail slowly disheartening beneath.
Occasional outcroppings provide me bearings now, as I connect lines.between sightings of trail and the occasional old boot print in the snow. My destination is clear as day, and I want to take my chances with the screen field. It beats all of this snow, the sun-cupped slush trying to work its way into my boots, my legs sinking into the soft snow. Rocks will be better than this.
Screen means rocks on tops of other rocks- while this provides a stable base when packed with snow, exposed smaller rocks become jumbo sand dunes, with similar amounts of traction available. My initial uphill hike quickly becomes a scramble, as I search for rocks which appear less likely than others to slide down and deposit me lower than I initially started. It is tiring, but I can once again see the short peak, my intermediate destination in my way up to the tram house. A small shadow is outlined near the peak, and as I have observed it over the past short while, I believe it to be moving.
A closer investigation reveals a mountain goat, silently watching me from.the distance. He has observed my long and arduous scramble up the scree-filled mountain slope. The ridge sprawls out before me, the tram shack a mile or so, and perhaps another two hundred vertical meters, away. The sun has melted the ice inthe ridge, allowing me a relatively uninhibited hike across. The heat from the sun warms my face, while the wind chills my hands. The ridge drops away on the other side, a sharp descent filled with jagged cliffs and open spaces. I am higher than nearly everything around me, save the top of the mountain. Mountains, some jagged spires of rock, others gently covered by snow and ice, lay sprawled out before me. The gentle transformation from valley floor to peak is outlined in colors, greens and browns giving way to greys, shades darkening with altitude until fading in to a hazy white, mixing the occasional light grey or even bright green into a vein here and there. I feel like I am looking at the very curvature of the earth, watching the mountains drop off as the get further away. Sunlight shining through a sky as blue as the ocean marks the boundaries of each peak, my.view already overwhelming with incredible landscapes.
The ridge hike posed no great obstacle, especially in light of the hike up. The rock face, with a trail weaving between boulders, some the size of small cars, rose quickly to a snowy end. I stand here, having crossed the final snowfield and ascended the metal staircase, atop a metal staircase, looking back. Snow drops off to rock, which dissapears from view. The trail, my tracks occasionally shown in snow, lead back along the ridge. The mountains are still spread out before me, along with one new addition. Attached to the top of the staircase sits a warning sign, to prevent a possible accident from occurring.
No high heels
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Monday, May 7, 2012
The hike up left me feeling like I had stepped into a fantasy world, and as I gaze around, I am not certain that I have not. My hike took me uphill, out of the village, following some directions I have cobbled together from the internet and some topo maps. The cattle I had hear about last night were milling about, though I would have guessed their ferocity more akin to house cats, especially given what happened on the Burren Way. With their gate behind me, I proceeded into the woods.