The wind whipped across the summit pulling and tearing at us, looking for any gap to sneak into and bite the flesh beneath. The rocks lining the edge of the summit were polished with ice, an invitation to take a quick trip down. Despite the harsh winds and treacherous ice, the surrounding land was breathtaking. As we stood atop the summit of Mount Crawford we were all entranced by the beauty. We paused, a group of adventurous women with our two canine companions, and soaked in the view.
When hiking I trust Star to make smart choices about where she goes and what she does but just as any child would test boundaries as a method of defining their comfort zone so does Star (Yes I just compared your CHILD to my DOG!). There are places where this testing is not allowed and when it involves an ice rimmed ledge and high winds I am happy to be the stubborn parent and keep my “child” away from the edge.
Unless there is a photo opportunity than by all means you should place your child close to the edge and tell them to stay put despite their discomfort with the situation.
It was challenging to focus on getting pictures of the landscape as my attention was divided by the need to keep my dog safe, the bitter cold driving itself into the core of my being, and the intense winds which disrupted my subjects. Despite all these factors I was able to nab a couple great shots.
Learning Curves: It doesn’t matter if it is your first time or your hundredth time there is something to be learned on the trails. When winter hiking you need to think about your water source. I LOVE my camelback style water system, I don’t think I could EVER revert back to a simple water bottle. While on this latest trip I discovered the tube leading from the water bag can freeze in minutes if it is not insulated. The solution: The blow back method!!! After you drink you blow air back into the tube and force the water back to the bladder. This is great! I also learned a small amount of water will come back to the mouth piece and fill it causing everything to freeze, not so great! If you take your mouth piece and feed it inside of your jacket (make sure the mouth piece is closed) you can keep it from freezing. Yay!
Water is not the only thing that can freeze. Have you ever tried to eat a frozen granola bar? Not a fun experience especially when you are REALLY hungry after a solid hike. I packed myself a risky lunch of hardboiled eggs, Justin’s Almond Butter, and granola bars. Next best trick to the “blow back” was to take a hand warmer and wrap it up with my food. My hard boiled eggs were perfect for the eating although once they were out of my pack I only had minutes to eat them before they started to freeze. Breaking a granola bar into pieces before your hike will help you even if it does freeze. Grateful for good eats and good company upon the trail this day. After our brief pause to enjoy lunch in a sunny wind free alcove we continued on our way.
There is always time to snap some macro images
There are ways to end a hike and this was a perfect example! We all made it down off the mountain tired and happy, what a remarkable day!
The best view of all – an exhausted dog!