The trees, spindly and thinned, were growing shorter and stubbier; and the amount of sun filtering onto the trail was increasing as the leaves divided. Any minute now we would be passing above into the alpine zone. I could feel the free, unregulated expanse of air nearing as we trekked towards it; as we climbed over mossy logs and rocks encased by tree-roots. At any time, it felt like, the shrubs and pines would part, and give way to the unpredictable yet incredible panoramic experience of swirling air, breathtaking views, and freedom; the experience of being above the treeline.
The treeline is a hit or a miss with weather. The last two times I had worked my way up to the treeline, I was without the reward of a view because of angry clouds and misty wind. But this trip, like with my hike up Mount Isolation, the weather was playing nice. When we took those last few steps up into the openness, the sunlight drenched our bodies and the outlines of dusty mountains engulfed our eyes. I think it was a treat the weather was saving for my milestone hike; a special reward.
Pulling myself up to the summit was a whole other feeling. I’ve hit 10, I’ve hit 20, I’ve hit 30 4,000 foot mountains. And here I was at my 40th. My last milestone before 48, the ultimate goal. I looked around at the peaks poking up around me. I have been on top of most of these peaks, seen the view from all these angles, faced the different trails to climb up them. Mount Eisenhower has an enormous rock pile at the top, and I placed a rock of my own on the top; marking my own journey.
Although Mount Eisenhower was a short and relatively easy hike; it meant a lot to me. I spent my time on the trail thinking about how far I’ve come on my 4k quest, and how far I have to go. The trail towards my goal has been steep and rocky, full of dips and roots and pricker bushes, but I am nearing the top. At my 40th 4k, I feel myself breaking through the treeline, where the peak, the end goal, is visible. I may be getting close, but I am not slowing down.
We took Edmand’s path, off of Mt. Clinton Road, and did the Mount Eisenhower loop around the peak. Mount Eisenhower Trip Planning
Note: Posting now but this hike was done in September