Bill and Kristi Hartrich arrived yesterday and were interested in going hiking so we planned to head up Verstovia around 3pm. Bill's brothers Nick and Steve decided to come along also. We ended up getting started up the trail at 3:30pm. The skies were clear and the sun was warm. There were no clouds to obscure the view as there had been when I hiked up yesterday.

We made pretty good time up the trail, making it to peak 2550 in about one hour and forty five minutes. The pictures I had seen the day before were still there. (I found out later that Bill Foster had put them there. He was a teacher when I was in high school, though he has since retired.) The view was excellent, there was not even much haze to obscure distant peaks.

After taking a break for a few minutes, we discussed the possibility of going up to the main peak. Kristi didn't really want to go up there, but she said she didn't mind waiting for the rest of us, so Bill, Nick, Steve, and started down towards the saddle between the two peaks. We saw a bear track in the trail and Bill put his hand beside it for a size comparison. It seemed to be pretty good sized, though it didn't seem to be all that fresh.

It was a little bit of work getting up the shoulder of the main peak due to the still substantial snow banks. Every once in a while one of us would step and sink up to our waist where the snow had melted out underneath. Once we reached the point where the trail goes around behind the peak, there was no more snow to deal with. In this alpine area where the snow had already melted, there were many different flowers in bloom. I recognized alpine azalea, anemones, paintbrush, heathers, and lupine. I took a couple of pictures of the lupine.

We reached the top without mishap and the view was pretty good. The sun was getting lower in the sky, but we still had hours of daylight left. I think that it would be nice to watch the sunset from up on top, but I wouldn't want to try and make my way down off the peak in the dark. It's tricky enough in full light. We took some pictures while we were on top and then decided that we should get started back down since Kristi was waiting.

Once we got back down to the snow, going down was much easier than going up had been. Bill seemed to be the only one who could actually make it down the snow gracefully. My problem was that I would get going too fast and I would have to make a frantic grab for something to stop me when I reached the end of the snow. Fortunately I always managed to find something, otherwise I would have had a couple of pretty uncomfortable tumbles. Nick and Steve kept sliding down while sitting which lead to shorts full of snow. Somehow Bill managed to avoid each of these problems.

We made it back to peak 2550 and I took a picture of the Hartrichs before we started down. We ran/skied down the snow towards the treeline and then hiked down the rest of the way. Going down, it seemed pretty strange that I have jogged down the trail before. I think that perhaps when you get going a bit faster, you can kind of step over much of the stuff which you notice at a slower pace.

We made it back to the trailhead around 9pm. I think that we were all pretty tired by that point. My knee had started hurting on the way down. I think I must have tweaked it someway while hiking down from the main peak. It could have happened one of the times I had slipped while coming down the steep part.

Home | Summer 1999