The new weekend routine grumbles on with another pre-dawn-wake-up and dark-chilly-drive to the kid's workplace. Then a steamy drive-thru coffee, a half hearted rumination on a good spot for some morning photography, and finally a blinking bewildered gaze at a truck stop sunrise.
Saturday morning was rough; still a little punch drunk from a particularly lengthy work week I just couldn't get it going and get fully awake. So it was a compromise venture just a little further up the highway, then a few quick pics at the next exit, and a U-turn for home base...getting back in before I was even missed by the bloggerette and K-Girl.
Sunday however found a relatively refreshed noggin, more up to the task and simmering with an ambitious greet for this new rival, the Sun.
Aye, today I'd even meet it closer to it's own turf.
...about 1000 feet closer.
The woods are just about completely in winter form, with just a few die hard oak trees jealously giving up the last of their leaves. Meanwhile the forest floor is absolutely slippery with the rest of the trees' leaf litter, making for some heart stopping slip-ups on the steeper sections. But the relatively short hike though brutal for the unprepared, gives up quick rewards for the diligent.
While the sun lit up the eastern side of the mountain in a yellow blaze, it filled the valley on the western side more slowly and with gentler light.
I strolled around the summit a little bit, looking for different perspectives and examining graffiti old and new on the ancient lava rock...
...all the while Easthampton slowly emerged from the shroud cast by the mountainside.
Wake up, little people.
Just then it dawned on me that the air at these heights and at that early hour was so extraordinarily cool and fresh. It just felt...clean. Like pure oxygen. Momentarily high on life, I toyed with the idea of following the ridge for a bit and maybe making it over to the wind turbine and old Mt. Tom ski area antenna.
But reason, time, and calorie constraints kicked in to harsh my mellow. I was satisfied with the morning's modest stab at carpe diem; it had been enough exercise. It's one of those experiences that really are there for the taking at any time; yet regrettably taken too rarely.
The entire morning had been just me the fresh air and the mountain heights, not another creature in sight. Only heading back down did I finally encounter another hearty soul making his way up. But not breaking the peacefulness of the morning, neither of us said a word in passing.
But it turned out it this guy was none other than the Husky Hiker himself. Blogger and Mountain Man. I only realized this afterwards, reading his Mt Tom summit tweets when I got back to my car. A kindred soul on some level, methinks; I wish I had stopped for a few words. Maybe next time.