The rain had just began to trickled down, and the smooth, beautiful quartz mountain we were climbing had already become slick. Walking down the rock was now sliding down the rock. Feet first, we crouched and slid our way down, slump by slump to the bottom. We threw on our rain gear and began a quick trot back to camp, a few miles away.
The weather turned cold, the rain turned heavy, and the wind began to blow. I had to cinch my hood down on my rain jacket to keep it on my head. I had anticipated rain, but some of the others weren’t so prepared. Tennis shoes, jeans, and t-shirts just don’t cut it out here. Thankfully I always bring along the poncho/emergency shelter. It’s not perfect, but in a mess it’s a life safer.
By now I imagine the sun was falling behind the mountains. I wouldn’t know for sure due to the thickening, grunting clouds. The trails were primarily erosion trails stomped flat by those who ventured here before us. This being the case, they were rocky, and were now becoming small shallow streams running down the hill. Descending the steep hills was beginning to become hazardous, but at this point we had no choice but to press on back to camp. My hands began to ache as the cold wind began to cut deeper into them. My face was cold and wet, even with the rain jacket. Through it all, the group stuck together, and held tight. Conversation carried on like there was no storm at all. A great group that’s for sure.
Eventually, we came into view of a faint patch of trees in the distance. Home! Or at least it was home to us.
About a half hour later we finally made it back to camp. The others had already began gathering wood. I helped get the fire going as other gather more wood for the cold of the night. As I fueled the fire with my breath, Logan and Laura prepared meals. Fried tortillas, and tuna salad sandwiches. Sounded like a feast to me, but then again, after a long long day of hiking anything tastes good. We had spent about 7 or 8 hours on the trail already, and it’s just the first day.
The sun fell, and the fire rose. The crackling of the fire was nearly drowned out by the laughter and carrying on of the crew. Spirits were high, stomachs were full, and eyes were heavy. It had been an amazing day, and a fun filled night. My only regret was that the second group didn’t get to make it out to the Shining Rock. Tomorrow, however, is another day.