|Sunny Easter Sunday on the harbor|
After an impossibly delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and gouda this morning, I took a leisurely walk across town. I stopped at the library, hoping it might be open, but it turned out to be closed. By the way, it’s Easter Sunday! Surprise! On my way there, I passed a tall, lanky Jamaican man on the sidewalk. He greeted me with a big grin and said, “Happy Easter!” “You too,” I responded, to which he replied “And 420!” I tell you, this town is a hoot. Well, the library wasn’t open, but I found I could get wifi outside. Surprisingly though, I couldn’t find it in me to use the internet for long though, as I was too excited to hit the trails on this sunny day. After running back to the house to change and grab my hiking gear, I found my way to the trailhead of the Gavan Hill Trail just down the street.
My god it was gorgeous! The trail consisted mainly of single-file or double planks elevated a few inches from the soggy ground. The understory of the heavily wooded forest was covered in soft, vibrantly green moss. Even though it was mostly sunny out, the trees were so dense that the trail was fairly dark. It meandered for about .8 miles until it came to cross with another trail. I continued following it up the mountain, a mile to the lookout.
|Plank trail up the mountain|
Let me tell you: longest mile of my life! I could swear it was longer. It was fun and gorgeous and exciting for sure, but the higher I got, the more my knees and ankles protested, reminding me of how embarrassingly out of shape I am. Thank goodness I was hiking alone. I took as many breaks as I wanted and huffed and puffed and groaned my way up. I also took a lot of time to film some shots with the GoPro, in the hopes of making another film this summer.
There were only a couple other people I passed along the way. Coincidentally, two of them happened to be people I met at brunch this morning! I think they only half-recognized me, but I asked how far it was to the top. “Only another 20-30 minutes to the lookout,” they replied. I can do that, I thought confidently.
Well, 20 minutes turned into something more like 40. Even more humiliating, I was passed by a fit, grey-haired man running up the steep, slippery, narrow trail with his dog. I know they were judging me, both of them!
I wanted so desperately to turn around after 20 minutes had passed and I still saw no sign of the lookout. But when I glanced behind me, I saw faintly through the trees a grand vista of the ocean and islands out behind me. I’ve got to make it now. In fact, I couldn’t even imagine turning back at this point, though a year ago it would have seemed just as good a choice as any.
Up and up and up the steep wooden steps and sloppy muddy trail I hiked, my thighs burning, knees aching, and shirt soaked through with sweat.
|View from the lookout|
Finally I saw it: the lookout, a plain, small platform jutting out towards a clearing of trees. The mountain rose still further behind me but I staggered gratefully onto the platform and leaned against the railing. The view took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. I can’t believe I live here! The clouds were starting to come in, and a chilly breeze had picked up, but still I could see out for miles. Little islands dotted the ocean, and bigger islands jutted out with snowcapped mountains. I could see the town, the harbor, little boats cruising from island to island. I wanted to see a whale, but even with my binoculars I couldn’t find any wildlife stirring in the sea.
|Looking down on downtown|
I took in the view for as long as I could, taking pictures, trying to gather up my strength for the downhill hike back. I still wanted to get to the top of the mountain, but judging by how tired I was by now, I decided to save that for another day.
The hike back didn’t seem quite as long, but my ankles hated all the stairs. Down, down, down. My ears popped as I descended another 1,000 feet in elevation on a small, steep stretch of trail. When I finally made it back to the trailhead, the 3.6 mile total hike had taken me about 3 hours, ridiculously slow for my usual speed! But I made it, and felt completely satisfied and content with my Easter hike for the day.
Tomorrow training begins. Hurray!