Climbing the Mountains

My legs and hips are sore, but it’s a “good sore.” The kind of ache that comes after working hard and pushing myself.

I often feel it after gym boot camp, which I take three times a week at 6am. And I feel it now, after three fairly significant climbs we did on Skyline Drive this weekend.

We arrived late Friday, car packed with supplies and food, just in time to set a warm fire and cook dinner. I love the cabins at Lewis, where we get a real bed and hot shower, but cook meals outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Early Saturday, we decided to climb Stoney Man, a relatively easy hike with a gorgeous view at the top. Leaves of yellow, gold, and red and evergreens surrounded and sheltered us on our hike, a peaceful climb with only a few steep sections. And then the gift–we walked to the open summit and a view that made me breathe deeply. I hear the mountains can be crowded in October. Half the world wants to see the leaves change. But our early climb meant we were nearly alone.

After a lunch of peanut butter and jelly, I talked David into “walking” to the Rapidan Retreat, Hoover’s summer getaway. The three mile climb about did me in. Heading down was not problem, with beautiful mountain laurel and bright yellow leaves rimming the tree trunks. We stayed close to the brook, and the sound of flowing water was soothing. After a short tour of the house from one of the Park Service reps, we headed back. And this time, of course, we climbed up. A mile and a half over rocks and streams left me breathing hard and wishing for an end much sooner than it came.

We collapsed back at the cabin and rested before preparing our chicken on the grill. The setting sun glowed off the golden leaves in the sky.

Early Sunday, we drove to Hawksbill Mountain for a delightful climb, one where we could chat the entire time and not be out of breath! Because we were so early, we ran into few people. And we had the 360 view to ourselves. Absolutely amazing.

Did I think about writing? Of course. And I wrote a little, too. My friend, Elizabeth, has mentioned how a good walk can change an entire writing perspective. Ah yes. And–sometimes quirky ideas just happen. Like the woman in the cabin next to us who chased a frightened mouse around her cabin, couldn’t catch it, but found it floating in her toilet the next day. Yuck.

What can I do with that? Thinking, thinking…..