|Rua and I near the top of Lookout Mountain.|
I've lived here for almost four years, and it has become embarrassing to admit that I hadn't climbed it. It's been one of those thoughts that's crossed my mind every time I see it. "I have to climb Lookout Mountain," is generally the unspoken statement in my head, followed by, "I can't believe I haven't done it. It's there. It's probably not hard. The view would be gorgeous."
|The meadows beside the paths are stunning during the autumn.|
But I could climb Lookout Mountain, and a couple of Sundays ago, I did. It was the last day of the year when snow wouldn't be an issue. Bob and I started out in the afternoon, with Rua. A front was moving in. We didn't know that the front was actually winter arriving early, complete with sub-zero temps. But that afternoon was perfect for the climb up Lookout Mountain.
Actually, Lookout Mountain has been conquered, a lot. In fact, it was being conquered that day by bikers, by a family with a baby in a backpack accompanied by dog, a couple of college students, and us. If one reads the description of the hike, one knows that it's a haven for mountain bikers, families, and people like me, who feel guilty just admiring it from a distance. It isn't tough to climb. You just have to do it.
The path (there are hundreds) we took up was steep, actually, and scored deep into the red earth by mountain bikers. We stopped, many times, to catch our singular breaths and collectively admire how far we had come. Spearfish spread itself below us. The cold wind shepherding the steely autumn clouds out for the season was sweet and sassy. We climbed further. Stopped to breathe. Climbed more. Wondered if it would rain and decided we didn't care.
|A boulder at the top of Lookout Mountain. Remained unclimbed. Small dog with delusions of grandeur in tow.|
The closer I get to the top of a mountain, the more I want to get there. I'm drawn to the peak, to the sky, to the wind, to the act of climbing a mountain. Even if the mountain is small, I find it hard to stop for anyone. That Sunday climb was no exception. Bob had led us for most of the way, but about five sixths of the way up, Bob decided to stay in a high mountain meadow and admire the spread of prairie and landmarks a few hundred feet below the top of Lookout Mountain. That was fine with me. I headed for the top, dog trotting after me.
The grasses along the path were varied and incredibly beautiful. Browns, reds, green, and gold, silvered, violet and orange, just magic. Rua and I wound our way through groves of small pines and up along a path with an close edge that made me slightly uncomfortable, but we kept going. We passed the family with the baby and the dog. We had a short conversation, passed by, and Rua and I were alone.
|More grasses. Beautiful.|
|The view from the top of Lookout Mountain.|
When I see Lookout Mountain now, I no longer feel guilty for not having climbed it. I can picture the climb, the view, the top, and I feel as if we've come to an understanding. I know you, Lookout Mountain, I say to it, and you know me back.