I found out about Jay Peak through WikiVoyage (which is a great tool, FYI) and from that point, it was on. I didn’t say it out loud, or write it down, or even decide to hike it right then and there, but it’s just the way my mind works.
– Jay Peak (wiki) –
My research on Jay Peak went as follows:
“Oh, that sounds like a nice place. Maybe I can rope it into my route through Vermont.” Then “Ah, definitely. I definitely have to go see it.” Then “Hmm, maybe there’s a trail up it to hike.” Then “I am summiting Jay Peak. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.”
That’s one thing I’ve realized since becoming a regular writer. I interpret my life through metaphors. What more obvious of a metaphor could there possibly be than a mountain hidden deep in the wilderness, shrouded in cloud cover, and bearing my name.
The actual story is that it’s a popular ski resort mountain frequented by friendly faces from north of the border. The elevation gain was about 1,500 feet from the parking lot, and my GPS tracked about five miles round trip. So really not a terribly strenuous hike. Nonetheless, I didn’t know what the policy was on hiking it during spring months, and I didn’t care to do any research for fear of forfeiting my alibi of ignorance.
I began my ascent up a ski route on the northern face following the tree line to cover my movement. After about a quarter mile there was no longer a line of sight back to the ski lodge, so I moved about to find the best route, sometimes zig-zaging up the steeper parts.
It was soggy and slippery.
The mountain gushed like a saturated sponge, and the wet straw on the ski routes made for poor traction. When I was nearly to the top, I spotted a guy and gal hiking up the backside of the mountain, and later on the peak, two different groups of French speaking Canadians sat down to join me for lunch. Apparently, it’s totally fine to hike the peak even up the frontside ski slopes.
On the way back down I passed by a family hiking up the same way I had come.
Here I was, all geared up with my Camelbak, my GPS, my double-throw-down hiking boots, and here’s this family of five, all three girls under 10 years old, hiking past me without any struggle at all. Hah, I felt like a goober – but a content goober, so I’ll take it.