Everyone seemed to be in good spirits at the beginning of day two. Although we were making breakfast, pumping water, taking down the tents, and having fun ribbing each other…it was as if there was something unspoken hovering around and weighing on us.
The Furnace climb was awaiting us…and this time it was with our heavy packs. Our only consolation was that it was early and cool. We knew the sooner we got started the better off we would be. So after waiting on Kfed and his primping and Chase and his urinating…we were ready to climb.
It was actually very surprising how refreshed I felt after a good night sleep. We didn’t have to worry about bears, as we “bear bagged” our food quite a ways from the tents. Sleeping all night beside a calm and monotonous stream can do wonders. So it was no wonder we seemed to be climbing quickly with relative ease.
The summer trees and mountain laurel in the early morning felt like a gift. As we climbed the ridge toward Trayfoot Mountain, a fresh summer fragrance led us. This was what a morning was meant to be. This is what every human being should get to experience everyday. Were my legs burning? Was I breathing heavy? Was my heart beating rapidly? I have no idea. I was in heaven.
We took a short break on a rocky ledge of Trayfoot Mountain. It was a relatively short break but the view was fantastic. We could see the valley and several other ranges for miles, even a small town with a train passing through. At nightfall we would be back to this area to look at the stars.
We covered about eight miles before reaching the creek at Paine Run. We were all eager to take our socks and shoes off and cool them in the water. After cooling down we scoped out the potential areas to camp. We settled on the ideal location on an embankment just off the trail and close to the creek. We set up the tents, made a fire, pumped water, ate, and made preparations to take a late evening hike back to the rock slab on top of Trayfoot in order to stargaze.
With headlamps in place, we started off for our nighttime show. The evening air was cool and our climb was brisk. It wasn’t long before we arrived and worked our way out onto the weathered rock. We were lost in conversation as the night grew darker and the stars grew brighter. What an immense canopy blanketing us. I felt so small and so overwhelmed. God is good.
As we arrived back at base camp to close out our second day, we sat around the warm embers and talked about our day. A voice that we didn’t recognize called out from the trail, “You guys have any beer?” He kept walking and we just laughed. Where did he come from and where was he going? We may never know. It was time to hit the sack. Our most exciting summit was coming the next day- Blackrock Summit.
Read Blackrock Summit…