With lunch packed, donning new hiking boots for him and longjohns for me, my guy and I climbed the Ledges Trail up Pleasant Mountain today.
Our destination: the main summit.
The bright blue trail blazes shone brilliantly in the winter landscape, some decorated by those who’d passed this way before us.
We gave thanks to them and snowshoers, who’d packed the trail down, which meant we could get away with micro-spikes. It felt more like a walk in the park. We love it when conditions are such and watching our every step on slippery leaves or rocks is not a worry.
All along, deer tracks criss-crossed over the “human” route, creating their own trails from shelter to food.
A porcupine had done the same, its trough at least six inches deep.
Though no water flowed through the streams that the trail crosses, snow created the effect of fluid motion and offered a promise for the future.
As I looked down, the papery fruit of a hop hornbeam reminded me to look up.
And right there, the tree showed off its shaggy bark. With that came a recollection of the first time I’d met said tree–it may have been this very one for it was on this trail many years ago.
I knew I’d spent too much time looking about when in his smart aleck way, my guy pointed to a rock. “Tall rock,” he said. “What’s growing on it?” I asked. “Snow,” he responded.
But still, he was the one to notice the beech contortionist.
And another that demonstrated the circle of life.
And then there was Beech Man–his mouth agape with laughter . . . and just maybe wonder.
We paused briefly at the Ledges overlook and then continued up, our eyes focused more on the sky than anything else at that point.
My least favorite section of trail, where the rock face sometimes makes me pause and contemplate my next step, provided for an easy ascent given the conditions.
It seemed like no time had passed when we reached the top and we felt like we’d missed parts of the trail, everything being different with the new season.
We had the summit to ourselves. My guy immediately found lunch rock–and the view.
I pulled out our sandwiches and surprised him with two beverages–one having found its way into the fridge this past week that spoke to our Colorado connection. We toasted our opportunity to be on top of the world.
All around us, serene hues of blue and icy gray contrasted with pastels and reflected winter’s enchantment.
We didn’t stay on top too long as the wind started to pick up. Just below the summit, I spotted another moment of wonder.
As we continued to climb down, our eyes were again drawn to the sky. “It’s the middle of the day and yet it looks like a sunrise or sunset,” said my guy.
Indeed. The perfect ending to our Mondate. Finally a Mondate. A final Mondate–for 2016, that is.