Ever since I hiked Mount Jo, I’ve longed to discover her love’s summit as well.
Mount Jo is one of my favorite little mountains in the Adirondacks. The mountain was named after Josephine Schofield in 1877, Henry Van Hoevenberg’s fiancé. She died shortly before they were to marry. I wondered about his hike through the mountain named after his love, his thoughts, his sorrows, his journey.
The day after I climbed Miss Marcy, I decided to explore the trail to Mount Van Hoevenberg. My knee was still in rough shape from the day before, but the walk was gentle and necessary for my soul that morning.
The weather was drastically different (as it usually is in the mountains) from the day prior. This Sunday morning, May 15th, would be 32 degrees, with a mix of rain, wind and snow.
I actually love hiking in the rain. The sound of rain has to be one of the most soothing, rejuvenating melodies Mother Nature gifts to us.
I headed to the trail at 9:25 a.m. from the South Meadows entrance off of the Adk Loj Road. As I signed the register with “Peace is the way- A.J. Muste”, I noticed there was only one other name signed in for the trail that morning. I was actually thankful to have the quiet walk through the woods in the rain. No thinking neccessary today. Just needed to be.
The trail meandered through pines for the first mile or so, a very level and easy hike. The rain began to fall gently around me, as songs of birds filled the air. An appreciation of a silent mind came over me…walking has always been extremely therapeutic for me. There is a strong connection to my late grandmother when I walk, as it was how we spent much of our time together when she was alive.
Pretty soon, I came to the beaver swamp, where the trail used to continue straight. The old trail is now under water, so the reroute guides you around the pond instead.
This section of the trail was VERY muddy! It took some creative problem solving to figure out where the trail leads and how to navigate through the swamp. The flowers, however, were quite beautiful. Spring has sprung in the mountains for sure! The animals of flight were extremely active here. I paused for some time to observe their music and patterns.
I began to ascend gently after leaving the muddy swamp. The blue trail markers were mixed in with the old white markers where the ski trails of yesteryear lived. This is similar to the Flume trails I followed up to Whiteface back in February. The trail winds up the mountain, over some small brooks here and there. Peaceful trickles and gentle gurgles underfoot.
I imagine this is a lovely hike in the summer time as well. Maybe a bit drier then, without the contention of slick mud-coated rocks. Rain and a gust of wind every once in a while joined me on the ascent to the summit. I tend to reflect about those that have walked these trails before me 130 years ago. Conversations? Observations? Wildlife? Expectations? Challenges?
The mountains, or anywhere in nature for that matter, holds stories and secrets from decades and centuries. My love of nature is derived from that very essence…heart stories, life stories.
The trail guides you through some impressive rocky areas, before dipping down a bit into a valley. This is where the final approach to the summit began.
The climb was muddy (Have I mentioned mud?) and slippery over the rocks and stone steps, but manageable. Beautiful rain transformed into windy, whipping snow now. Putting up my hood, I continued to hike on, wondering if the summit would have any views at this point. The first outlook is a rocky ledge, but not the true summit. The trail continues up some steps through the pines before reaching the actual peak.
I reached the summit at 10:28 a.m., so just about an hour. Mount Van Hoevenberg stands at 2940 feet and probably has some really incredible views on a clear day!
Alas, today was not that day. Still, there were some views to admire through the snow and wind.
I enjoyed a quick few minutes in the lovely, winter-like May weather that can only be found in the mountains! So much for lunch on the summit today 🙂 Closing my eyes, I prayed (as I usually do on the summits). A prayer of thankfulness for a healthy body and a strong heart. For not giving up, while surrendering to the path of life. I inhaled the spiritually energy of those that have stood here before me, and exhaled a peaceful calm for those who still have yet to discover the mountains. Amen. Namaste. Peace. #individualspirituality
The descent took about an hour as well, as I reached the trail head and signed out at 11:20 a.m. The entire 4.4 mile hike took only 2 hours. A couple were just arriving as I walked down Meadows Lane back to my truck. Despite the ever-changing weather, gratitude filled my soul. I was thankful to have these moments alone that morning, before driving back to Rochester and reality.
Therapy. The mountains provide balance, just like the ocean had done for me growing up on Long Island. Balance is the key to finding your way on this journey of life. My 3 amazing children will continue to fill my life with love, busy schedules, and lots of laughter. They are my blessings and grace.
My time away on my own, however, is my therapy. My way of resting, recharging, and rejuvenating my soul…which in turn, helps me become a better mom. Taking time for yourself is tricky business. It takes time to “be ok” with taking the time.
I stopped at the ADK Cafe for a delicious organic patty melt for lunch before beginning the trek home. I have a trail book that I received from a bed and breakfast in Keene Valley back in October, when I began my journey through the High Peaks. I use it to keep track of trails, times, observations, and other little thoughts here and there.
As I enjoy my red meat, as this girl often does, and sipped my soda, I jotted down some quick notes to remember the morning. Some notes and pages are more detailed than others, but I find it helps to trigger those wonderful memories of my journey.
I hope you have a chance to experience some peace and serenity this week. Silence is medicine for the soul.
Still i rise,