Nance and I wanted to climb St. Mary's peak back in September, when the weather is ideal for it, but we were busy and never could find a time that worked. Then the woodworking school began and another two weeks went by. We finally decided that it would have to be this week or wait until next summer, so we made plans to go on Thursday--today. It would be home school P.E. for the week, as it is a very strenuous, all day climb.
Getting up this morning, it was obvious we were doomed from the start. The mountain peaks were shrouded in heavy fog and clouds--looked like snow falling up there. But the weather man had called for only a twenty percent chance of precipitation, so we decided to at least make an attempt.
So Nance, myself, Connie, seven of our kids and three others from another family set out at eight-thirty this morning for the trailhead. As we left Connie's house, which sits at the base of the mountain, it began to drizzle. By the time we were halfway to the trailhead, the drizzle had turned to rain. Another half mile up the rugged, winding road and the rain was slush, then snow. By the time we reached the trailhead, the snow was coming down in heavy flurries and sticking to the ground nicely--a winter wonderland.
It was silly to attempt the climb in those conditions, especially with ten kids, so we lowered our expectations a bit. We would just go for a stroll instead. The kids were busy with snow ball fights, anyway. We hiked just over a mile up, then turned around and hiked back to the trailhead, slipping and sliding all the way. It was a beautiful little hike, short as it was, and we enjoyed the change of scenery tremendously.
When we had made it back down to the trailhead, we gathered some dead wood and pine needles and started a fire. As it crackled and popped, we warmed ourselves and munched our lunches, laughing at the kids' antics. (Did YOU know that the stalks of bear grass can be smoked? Apparently all kids know this here and the boys all became quite proficient at it. Some of the girls even gave it a try. Great. Makes a mother proud.)
We drove back down to Connie's house and the kids all played outside while we moms sat in the living room and enjoyed a cup of tea. It was a very nice day, just not what we had planned. Oh, well, maybe next year.
Here we are at the trailhead:
On the trail: