Saturday, February 25, 2012

Monument Mountain - Part 4

I'd finally reached Squaw Peak, my destination point on Monument Mountain, and much of the rocky surface was covered with ice. So I kept the dogs on leashes and sat down carefully on a boulder to snap some photos of the beautiful valley below:

The young couple who shared the peak with me was very friendly and seemed a bit concerned that such an old codger and four dogs should be traversing these icy heights. I met several other hikers that day who, though never actually saying so, seemed concerned about such a decrepit oldster. But we were having a wonderful day. I asked the young couple to use my camera to get a photo of me with the dogs atop Squaw Peak and they were happy to do so:

Far below us the valley floor looked peaceful, calm and inviting. Squaw Peak was named for a Native American woman who, according to legend, leaped to her death from here. Perhaps this awesome sight inspired her to think she could fly:

But the time had come to start trekking back down the mountainside. When we'd reached a point which seemed safe, I again let the dogs off their leashes. This was a great relief for both them and for me:

Down we went, traversing the trail which was lined with Mountain Laurels and mossy rocks:

The Berkshire Mountains were visible through the trees in many places as we hiked onward toward the trail head:

I endeavored to keep the dogs closer to me than I usually do, calling them back to me whenever they got farther ahead than I'd like. They'd run back to see what I wanted and get patted and praised:

There were still sharp drop-offs in places, but the truly dangerous cliffs were behind us at that point:

There were still some dangerously icy spots, however, and I saw one woman take a terrible fall. She got right back up and continued on, though. Apparently her dignity was hurt more than her backside:

I lifted Fergus up onto this tree trunk for a photo op and you can see he's not thrilled with the idea. I'd have lifted him back down but he jumped before I got there, landing on the slick ice, his legs splaying out. But he wasn't hurt and wasn't worried about his dignity either. Fergus was having a grand time:

We continued down through beautiful forests on our way back to the trail head:

I put the dogs on their leashes again when we were almost back to our car. I advised a man on his way up the mountain about which trails were dangerously icy and Seamus said a doggy hello to a Border Collie who was just starting up with her owner. But for us, the hike was over and it was time to drive home where both Wally and Winky were waiting patiently and needing a bathroom break:

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