Noonmark Mountain: Courageously Beautiful

“If you go deep enough into the way of peace, you find power.” Deepak Chopra

The morning after hiking Big Slide was actually a beautiful weather day. It was 30 degrees warmer than the previous day! I wasn’t ready to head back home just yet, so climbing Noonmark Mountain was the perfect solution. I highly recommend this hike if you haven’t tried it yet!  Incredible rewards at the summit for a quick distance climb!

After breakfast, I headed out to St. Hubert’s.  The trailhead for Noonmark is down the road from the St. Hubert’s parking lot. Noonmark Mountain stands at 3556 ft. tall at the summit and is located in the Dix Mountain Wilderness.  IMG_8425

At 9:57 a.m., I began my walk up to the trail register.  Signed in and wrote, “Peace is the way” next to my name. The current temperature was 39 degrees on that Sunday, November 15th morning.

 

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The trail started out as a beautiful walk in the woods along a brook…the sound of cascading water was incredibly peaceful.  Again, I seemed to be the only one on the trail this morning.  I followed the yellow trail marker for the first half a mile or so.

IMG_8427Onto the Stimson Trail (red) for the remainder of the hike.  During this climb, I came to many realizations about life.  Mostly about courage and fear.  I used to think that in order to possess courage, you had to be completely fearless.  When the reality is, that they live together, almost joined at the hip.  Being courageous isn’t about overcoming fear, as I thought for many years. Instead, I think it is about accepting that Fear will always be present.  Being courageous is about acknowledging that you have a fear, but make the decision to continue anyway.  To give bravery more power than fear…and bravery, I think, comes from a deep peace within.  A confidence that all is well and all will be well.

IMG_8428The woods were calm and present on this morning.  Crunch, crunch, crunch went the leaves as I climbed higher and higher up the path.

IMG_8429There are so many unique features when you hike Noonmark.  It’s like the best of every type of trail rolled into one.  You have a wooded path, babbling brooks, boulder walls, stone steps, rock chimneys…and views from almost every section of the hike!

IMG_8431About halfway up the mountain, I encountered some ice.  As I rummaged through my backpack, I quickly realized I left my microspikes in the truck!  Bummer…tricky footing from this point on.

IMG_8432There are many open ledges on this mountain. Ice became an issue, but bear crawling conquered that problem!  I would have been completely fine, had I double-checked my before I left my truck.

Like I said, the views all along the way were amazing.  This shot was from that icy ledge I was standing on. Big Slide and the Brothers in the background…it was just mind blowing to me that just the day before, I was standing on that mountain in a complete whiteout!

Mountain weather can certainly change on a dime, that’s for sure!

The final push to the summit was bare rock. Bare rock covered in a thick sheet of ice.  Not spikes. Also, there was nothing to grab on to in order to continue.  I stood there staring, trying to assess the situation of  the  iced rock slides in front of me.  How the heck I was going to get up there?!

I slid down a few times, but eventually made my way across the ice and up to the summit!

The views!!! 360 degrees all the way around the summit.  The summit is also leveled, which was pretty awesome!

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The Great Range

I reached the summit at 11:35 a.m. in 1 hour and 37 minutes.  The temperature was 45 degrees! I finally ate my sandwich from the day before, yet another Cliff bar and water.

There were actually many other hikers relaxing at the summit when I arrived.  So I must have been the one with the late start that day!

I was thankful to the nice French couple who took pictures for me!  (I’ve since purchased a little tripod!)  I remained on the summit for about 20 minutes before heading back down at 11:50 a.m.. I knew the descent would be tricky with the ice and no spikes…alot of uncomfortable butt sliding would follow!

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I was back to my truck by 1:30 p.m and on the road headed home.  This was one of my favorite climbs to date…it is definitely worth a repeat or two!! It is about 4.5 miles RT and only took 3 1/2 hours total to hike! Cannot wait to try this one in the warmer months.

Any self-doubt that I may have been harboring still was completely gone after this weekend’s adventures! There is something to be said for spending time alone.  I know I’ve said that before, but it is so crucial to our balance and spirit that is it worth repeating.  Time alone allows you to reflect, recharge, renew, and reestablish your life.  Accomplishing and overcoming personal challenges empowers your soul in such a beneficial way.  It sets the stage for what is next along your journey.

Yes. Give bravery more power than fear…a bravery that comes from a deep peace within. A confidence that all is well and all will be well.  A courageously beautiful peace…love wins.

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