Many people and cultures have traditions for the first day of the New Year: eat black eyed peas, make a resolution, visit the temple, or avoid sweeping the stoop. Some of these traditions are connected to superstition, others to family ritual. One such ritual, encourage by America's State Parks, is to take a hike. Free ranger-led hikes are conducted at state parks in all 50 states on New Year's Day.
Sugarloaf Mountain is not a state park, but a privately owned one. I had been on a hike there before, so I chose it for today's hike with my nephew Tim. We dressed warmly and I took my walking stick. At the uppermost parking lot, we followed the blue trail uphill along easy paths, until it took a rocky turn toward the top. That's when I had Tim take my photo.
At the summit, we looked out over the Potomac River, then chose the orange trail down. Halfway down, I realized we should have gotten a map. This trail was narrow, steep, and very rocky. Luckily, there were trees to grab onto for stablility, in addition to my walking stick, which came in very handy.
At the steepest point of the descent, I threw out all dignity and chose to slide down in the dirt on my rear end; the man behind me said, "Better dirt than hurt." I liked him instantly.
When we finally arrived at the bottom, we were at the eastern parking lot, which meant more walking on flat road, but it was invigorating, and I was just thrilled that I had negotiated the trails without fear or injury, which proved how much my balance and agility have improved in the past year. My broken ankle from 2014 did not bother me at all, but my knees do feel the effects of all that climbing and negotiating around rocks and trees and ruts. I am very proud of myself for completing a challenging hike today.
Happy New Year to all!
All photos in "My Daily Photo Walk" are available for sale upon request.