Hike up Snowy

From Hike up Snowy Mountain with Grace – July 3, 2010
From Hike up Snowy Mountain with Grace – July 3, 2010
From Hike up Snowy Mountain with Grace – July 3, 2010

Grace and I parked at the trailhead a few miles south of Indian Lake and hit the trail a few minutes before 1:00. It was a perfect day for a climb: brilliantly sunny, a bit on the cool side, and breezy.

Along the trail were many spiderwebs for me to investigate, and almost everywhere I looked there was a curled leaf that might hold a spider or a caterpillar. I saw one orb web with a distinct trashline, so although I didn’t see the spider, presumably it was a trashline orbweaver. Another orb web that I saw glistening about twenty feet off the trail turned out to have a spider sitting in the center. When I touched the branch, and again when I blew gently on it, the spider shook itself on its web so that it became a blur. This behavior is characteristic of trashline orbweavers, among others, and I’ve seen it in other species such as the spined micrathena.

Another wonder I saw was a pair of leaf galls protruding like little green grapes from the top surface of a leaf. While I was examining one, it detached, so I split it in half with my fingernail. Inside the pale green flesh — again, grape-like — was a tiny white larva.

I had a great time exploring the minutiae of the arthropoda variety, which gave Grace a welcome breather. She’s been so busy with work that she hasn’t had as many opportunities as me to condition. I’ve been taking twenty-five-mile hikes on a regular basis lately, and even one thirty-miler. So even though I’m far from my best shape, I was ready for this climb.

For the sake of conditioning I was intentionally loaded down with an unnecessarily heavy pack. That, and the thirty-five pounds I could stand to lose, made this not my best climb up Snowy. But I did pretty well, and Grace did great — heck, she was right behind me most of the way.

We got to the top in three hours and sunbathed for a bit. Then we ranged around the peak, enjoying the view from various vistas. I was very put out to find that my Canon battery was dead, so I couldn’t take any macro shots of the sprightly red-tipped lichen. My good old Panasonic DMC-FZ10 still does a yeoman’s job, though, and that’s what I used to get the first shot.

There’s not too much to tell about the trip down the mountain. Obviously we made it. While examining a bug that had fallen on a leaf of a plant that I thought looked like stinging nettle but wasn’t, I discovered that it was, in fact, stinging nettle. I made this determination by finding that the top of my left ring and index fingers, where they brushed up against the spines, felt like they had just been set afire.

Grace was exhausted by the climb, and now she’s sleeping the sleep of the just. I’m looking forward to some upper-body exercise with her tomorrow, by way of some paddling.


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