Hamilton: The Mountain

I’m sitting in my living room drinking a Bloody Mary and listening to an Acoustic Covers playlist on Spotify. Imagine “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” slowed down 90% and sung in a breathy whisper and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the music sounds like. I am planning on a very chill day because yesterday nearly killed me.

Or at least my knees, which apparently are not used to being worked out to such an extreme. I am grunting and wincing in pain every time I get up. I sound like an old man, much to my own dismay. But it’s totally worth it, because yesterday turned out to be a near-perfect day.

I decided to go climb a mountain. All week I’d debated what to do with myself this weekend; Tara is in Nevada for her grandfather’s funeral (RIP Cecil) and I couldn’t take that much time off from work before our move – PTO is like gold at this point – so I stayed behind. I finally settled on the idea of a good ol’ fashioned hike. Ironically, I ruled out the one I really wanted to do up by Mount Hood because I thought the weather might be bad. Ha.

I got to Beacon Rock nice and early, 9:30 a.m., and set my sights on Hamilton Mountain, a 2,438’ peak that I’d climbed a few times in the past. I could not help but notice that the peak was covered in snow.

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My destination: the top of Hamilton Mountain.

This wasn’t entirely a surprise; it’s been cold here the past few days, and we’ve had some snow in the foothills, so I’d come prepared with my Stabilicers® shoe traction devices and gloves. The trail started out wet and muddy, but as I climbed in elevation snow started to appear on the trail and blanketing the evergreen limbs. By the time I reached the summit, I was trudging through foot-deep snow, and everything was covered in white. It sure was pretty.

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Trail to the summit.

The clouds were darkening to the west, and I could tell a storm was moving in. Sure enough, right as I began the 3.5-mile trek back from the summit, it started to snow. Just a few light flurries at first, but the storm picked up in intensity and suddenly I found myself traversing an exposed ridge in the midst of an honest-to-god snowstorm. Talk about a rush!

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Table Mountain, from the summit of Hamilton Mountain

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All signs point to snow.

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I was caught on this exposed ridgeline in a surprise snowstorm.

Luckily I was prepared. My Stabilicers® (love the name, btw) gripped the trail confidently, and I was able to enjoy the majesty of a winter wonderland in March. You east coasters might be sick of snow by now, but I was one happy camper. I figured I was getting myself acclimated so those brutal South Dakota winters don’t kill me.

The closer to sea level I descended, the less deep the snow was. Eventually it gave way to a wet and muddy trail. Seven miles after setting out I arrived back at the truck, my thighs and knees screaming in agony from the effort. I drove myself ten minutes to Stevenson, where I stopped by Big River Grill for a late lunch and cocktail, figuring I’d earned myself a nice reward.

I drove home afterwards and the first thing I did was took a long, hot shower. It felt amazing. Talked to Tara for a bit, and even got to join in on a toast to her grandfather via the magic of video. I mixed myself up a Moscow Mule and parked my ass on the recliner, where I watched a Netflix documentary on WWII. Made myself dinner – a fried pork chop, paprika potatoes, and spinach, an old favorite I hadn’t cooked in years.

Because my muscles were screaming at me, I decided to borrow an Advil PM from Tara’s stash, but wasn’t thinking clearly and for some reason took two. I didn’t even realize my mistake until I woke up this morning at 7:30 – late for me – and was feeling super groggy. It took a good couple of hours until I actually felt awake.

So today is going to be a rare relaxing day for me. I’ll watch some TV, work on editing my book a bit. I’m craving Mexican food so I think I’ll walk down to Muchas Gracias later to pick up a quesadilla or somethin’. Otherwise, I’m not budging from this very comfortable spot.

Here are some more pics from yesterday’s adventure.

Countdown: 90 Days

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5 thoughts on “Hamilton: The Mountain

  1. “You east coasters might be sick of snow by now, but I was one happy camper.”

    Mark, this is one east coaster who is NOT sick of the snow, therefore I would have been one happy camper too!

    Gorgeous photographs, btw! GLORIOUS images!

    Funny you mentioned Mexican food because for the past couple of days, I’ve been craving that as well; particularly a crispy quesadilla with some sour cream and guacamole 🙂

    Have a super week, my friend!

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    • I almost put an asterisk next to east coasters* just for you, Ron. I figured you’d be the exception! 🙂

      Sometimes a quesadilla hits the spot like nothing else. I ended up just cooking myself some fish though, so I’M STILL CRAVING MEXICAN.

      Like

  2. I was impressed by your hike on Instagram! A friend of mine recently let me use her Yaktrax on an icy walk we took and I couldn’t believe how well they worked! On my Xmas list!

    My sympathies to Tara. I’m always astounded by those who still have grandparents. Mine were all gone by 1987. Then again, maybe Tara is still in her 30’s!!!!!

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    • She just turned 40 last year, but you were close! I have no grandparents left either, but it’s been less than two years since my grandmother passed.

      I had a pair of Yaktrax originally, but lost those the first time I went hiking with them. The Stabilicers have a more secure strap and are less likely to fall off, I’ve learned. Both of them work wonders though – I should have invested years ago!

      Like

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