Monday, March 29, 2010

John's Mountain Hike on March 27th, 2010

Eleven hikers met to follow It's-Pretty-Level and Not-Much-Further hike leader, aka Tony Cook, and his sweet wife, Carol, into the Pocket area beyond Villanow to hike John's Mountain. It was a tad chilly as we met in the parking lot and received our safety talk from Tony. We started from the parking lot onto the trail and began the climb up the mountain that would take us to Keown Falls. The trail wasn't steep, just steady, until we got closer to the top and began to wind around the mountain toward the Falls. Along the way, the hillside gave us hints of springtime with small periwinkle flowers blooming in patches and areas of sun-dappled green moss.

Keown Falls was beautiful in a rough sort of way with the huge rocks boulders beneath and behind where the water fell. From there we followed the path to the wooden stairs that took us to the top to the beautiful scenic view of Taylor's Ridge and beyond to Fort Mountain. Then we started around the mountain, gaining elevation until we reached the top where we hiked the rim. Generally, the trees, bared by winter, obstructed the views, but we got tantalizing peeks. But, after reaching a lookout deck, we were treated to a spectacular view of the valley spread out below with Lookout and Sand Mountains rising at a distance.

We then hiked down a gradual decline until we intersected at the lookout above the Falls and from there down an easy trail to the parking lot where we had lunch. Tony gained forgiveness for his distance/elevation 'errors' by providing dessert to the hikers with Angel Food Cake, Strawberries, and Whipped Cream! The Trail Chronicler will follow him anywhere after that!

After lunch, we drove a short distance down the road to hike a couple miles (I think really more, Tony!) in to the site where a Navy Training Jet crashed in 2006. There we paid our respect by having a moment of silence and folding a flag that Tony will be presenting. It was a hallowed place, sanctified by sacrifice, and made even more spiritual by the beauty of the isolated wooded area.

Thanks Tony and Carol for a great hike with some wonderful folks.

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