I love to hike, but don’t get to do it very often. When we pick a house to rent for vacation, we can usually find a good hike or two nearby. This time, we found a few family-friendly trails and a few bigger hikes that were Mark Simmons Death March worthy. On past vacations, the girls have taken a day to leave the kids with the boys and go shopping and then the boys have taken a day to leave the kids with the girls and go hiking…or as we’ve come to call it: go on a Death March. Mark has a tendency to not thoroughly research hikes, leading to early morning hikes that are supposed to be “4 mile leisurely strolls” and turn out to be 4 mile very steep hikes on mountains that are 2,000 feet taller than Mark told us. In other words, a Death March.
This time around, I bought a hiking guide book to prevent any of these mishaps. Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of other folks up for the Death March, so it was just Mark and I that got up at 5:30 and headed out for a 2,800+ foot climb.
Mark was dying to see a moose and while we saw lots of moose poop, we never did see an actual moose. By the end of the hike, we had decided to blame all the poop on one moose, and we named him Howard. We actually didn’t get to see a lot of wildlife on the hike (it’s probably better that way) at all, but two frogs did manage to scare the daylights out of me by jumping out of my way just in front of me on the trail.
We did get to see, swat, and hear about a million mosquitoes. In fact, when we first got up to the top we stopped for a minute and all we could hear was the buzz of bugs. I sprayed myself at least four times with bug spray, and I still came home with at least half a dozen bug bites. Learn from my experience: Picardin does not stop bugs. Use bug spray with DEET.
But also learn from my experience: It is always worth it to get up at 5:30am and climb a mountain. Coming to the top, seeing the view, and feeling like you can conquer anything is amazing.