This was a hike that almost didn’t happen. I got off to a late start organizing and promoting the event, and it showed in a reduced turnout. Add in last minute cancellations and no shows and we started up the mountain with three people. Mike and Wendy were both experienced hikers and game for the day’s climb.
Although I’ve led this hike twice for HIKE For Mental Health, and climbed Pole Steeple five times in six years, its work for me, and not effortless. So I was pleased the ascent was the fastest I’ve done and I didn’t hold up the group as much as the previous year. Wendy and Mike didn’t seem to mind the slow pace – it meant there was more time to see.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our climb – sunny, seventy degrees, and a slight breeze. The mountain was almost empty when we reached the overlook. Having Pole Steeple all to ourselves didn’t last long, but it was fun for a few minutes. And the view is as wonderful as I remember.
Our route down involved the Appalachian Trail, the connecting trail to the AT, Old Railroad Bed Road, and the Mountain Creek Trail. The four and a half miles went quickly thanks to our conversation. Mike has environmental training, and I learned a lot from his comments on the flora and fauna of Mountain Creek and Piney Mountain.
At the end of the day we were tired and happy, and had raised 270 dollars for HIKE For Mental Health. Another successful Pole Steeple hike in the books!