Pearis Mountain in the Snow
For those of you who don’t know, I have a new boss! And apparently he knows me well. When he was telling me I could pick my own work hours, the example he used was, “So you can hike in the morning and work in the afternoons and evenings.” 🙂
Sounded nice, but I didn’t expect to take advantage of it so quickly. Well Tuesday night we finally got a snow down here in Blacksburg. Like my friend, Mandy said recently on her blog, “this may be THE snow of 2007!” So I called my new boss and he gave me permission to go (even though it meant missing a conference call).
This is what we do for love! The next morning, I woke up earlier than I do for work. I got dressed up in my layers, grabbed Jimmie and headed out in the X-Terra on snowy roads.
Henry the beagle sat this one out. Although Henry is three years younger than Jimmie, he’s already threatening to retire from hiking. He has some back problems and he looked stiff after the Brush Mountain hike. Henry was assigned a very important duty though. He had to lay in bed, watch TV and keep Sean company.
Our destination was my favorite mountain — Pearis Mountain which is home to Angel’s Rest. In recent years, my longer outings with Mike E have made Tinker Mountain a worthy rival for the favorite mountain title. The two mountains are pretty neck and neck, but Pearis has been the incumbant for years, so I’ll give it the edge.
It was a beautiful, invigorating hike. Jimmie and I were the first to walk on that snow, so all you have was the trail and our footprints.
Despite the snow I was making good time…for me (I’m notoriously slow at ascents). I could get snippets of the view to come between the trees and I knew it was going to be great. And I found myself counting chickens before they hatch. I was already planning on who I was going to send picture messages to from the top. Derek, Sean, Ann, Mike’s email (how do I have a friend without text messaging? Even my mother has it!), Larry, etc. A while after I passed the old power line tower, I hit a snag.
I slipped and fell. That’s not unusual– I have fallen before on hikes. In fact one time on the way to Dismal Falls I managed to fall flat on my face within ten feet of getting on the trail! So I got up and continued on. Before I knew it I slipped and fell again.
What in the world was going on? I wiped away the snow and discovered that underneath was a continuous sheet of thick ice. It was nothing like the ice I saw on Brush Mountain.
What’s underneath that snow? Why a thick sheet of ice, that’s what!
I did give the trail a very cautious benefit of the doubt. I had to be cautious– we can’t have me and Sean with broken feet, can we? I continued on for another switchback or two (sometimes using the nearby trees as security), but the conditions did not improve. Jimmie, of course, had no problem whatsoever. I tried to follow his lead and “Four Wheel” it for a while, but that didn’t work. Jimmie’s dainty little feet didn’t sink all the way through the snow, so he always had some traction. I was heavy enough that I always contacted the ice. Blast that Britney Spears weight.
As usual, Jimmie was ahead of me. Everytime I slipped, he’d look back and appear so baffled. I had to laugh– I kept thinking about the game of touch football in the movie Wedding Crashers.
Jimmie and I were oh so very close to the top. We had passed that last rocky crossing and were already seeing the rhododendrons that cover the top. Very tempting, but we summoned the strength to wuss out and headed home. Although I knew the view would be “to die for”, I also knew it wasn’t actually worth dying for.
It was still a wonderful outing and great exercise. Just a splendid morning and suddenly even late afternoon conference calls went by quickly. 🙂
P.S. That night, my new boss treated me to a hot chocolate. Am I living the life or what?