I climbed a mountain today! It has been a long time since I have done anything quite so strenuous. In fact, it has been since 1996, when I made the four hour trek up The Koncheto (The Horse, in Bulgarian), a part of the Pirin Mountain Range. The difficulty in climbing Black Bear Mountain was not even close to the physical stress of ascending The Koncheto, and yet I feel mighty proud to have made it up and down the climb in one piece!
As a retired teacher, I continue to be concerned about physical exercise. This summer Susan Morento of North Creek offered water aerobics classes at The Copperfield Inn, a local motel and eatery. When August ended, and the motel needed to close the pool, I was left without an easy outlet for fixed exercise and for most of September did well to walk the two-mile Trout Brook Road trek or enjoy the paths out behind our house in the woods leading down to Minerva Stream. Knowing that I was accompanying Ann Hornbeck on this minor mountain climb spurred me to begin my walking regimen again. Yeah!
From what I know about mountain climbs, there is the beginning level path, which turns into a moderate ascension. The mountain holds its secrets regarding the path that takes you dramatically to the peak. And so today, for about 1.5 miles, Ann and I walked and mucked the path that led finally to a steep rocky ascent, which required hand over hand to pull our bodies to a level area. You can imagine the huge boulders that dot the face and top of any mountain. So we found ourselves pulling on our knees and tummies, using wonderfully convenient tree trucks and roots to mount parts of the path. Almost at the top, we spied a gorgeous lake, a view that spurred us on, hoping for other marvelous eye candy at the summit. Sure enough, the summit of Black Bear Mountain provided a vista of four lakes and numerous other Adirondack Mountains. Gorgeous!
After enjoying a snack and a little rest, we headed down. Much to our surprise, descending was much swifter and easier than the ascent. Once back at the parking lot, we shed our muddy boots, sat in the car, and felt victorious about our climb. We had done it! Now, what mountain will be next?!
By Joy Healy