This hike was a disaster from the start. My friends and I decided to head out on a hike since the weather was sunny with temperatures in the 50’s, a rarity in late winter and a sign that spring was on it’s way. We loaded up the car and drove through the lakes region while singing at the top of our lungs. The time was around 2:00PM and I didn’t worry at all. There was still snow on the ground but it had been so warm that we didn’t worry about ice. We arrived at the trailhead parking lot and walked by fenced in pastures. The trail started with no snow and streams of water flowing in all directions. At one point, the trail resembled a waterfall. We quickly made our way up to the first lookout and began to notice more and more snow. We hopped to avoid some stray ice and found ourselves on a rocky outcropping on the side of the mountain. We took a few breaks but continued on our way slowly.
Time flew by as we fell continuously through the snow (post-holing) up to our knees and sometimes our thighs. We laughed at our pain and continued on covered in scratches and bruises. Near the summit, we walked through a small pine forest with a shallow layer of fog rolling in between the trees. This is my favorite moment of any hike, walking through a small forest that seems to have been handcrafted for me and my small stature. As we continued, we noticed some large feline-like paw prints fresh in the partially melted snow, this was a little worrisome. We finally summited and found a limited view with a small wooden sign. I noticed some large clouds moving in as the sun began to set. This is where I began to get a little more nervous. I had a cheap headlamp on me and a flashlight but my other friends lacked the proper gear. I immediately urged my friends that we should begin our descent.
As we began to head down, the sun was gone as we had found ourselves in a cloud. It began to drizzle and we were off trail, trying to find our way. After what seemed like forever we found our footprints and moved quickly to avoid getting hypothermia, as the temperature dropped very quickly while the rain picked up. It pitch black by the time we were back at the first lookout. With the small light of my headlamp, I guided us down the trail waterfall and through the rest of the streams back to the trailhead. We were greeted by a man with a flashlight asking if we were the last ones out. He then proceeded to tell us that there is a pack of bobcats living in the area and have been seen on the mountain. We walked back to the car in silence as everyone let their exhaustion sink in. This hike is not one of my favorites, but makes for a great story.