Terrific Trip Tuesday: Salamanders, ‘Shrooms and Summits!

We hiked 1.5 miles in and within the first five minutes, I thought, this is the toughest thing I’ve ever done.

The first five feet were straight downhill, and my pack was set awkwardly, so it was digging into my head, and I couldn’t see. I seriously considered turning around.

And you know, I take the most pride in myself for not giving up when things get tough. Still, I’ve learned it’s important to know my limits.

It was time to push them a little farther.

We set up camp in Phoenicia and just sat around, played cards, and talked. At nighttime, we had a fire and we even found an orange salamander! (We dubbed him Charlie.)
It was nice and toasty around the fire. We played many rounds of the “picnic” game, when you have to guess different rules of what is allowed (and isn’t) on a picnic, like certain letters, or a certain number of syllables.

Charlie!

Some Jiffy-Pop around the fire.

The woods!



This is actually from the last day, but I LOVE my tent. I sleep so well outside. I just conk out. Too bad I don’t sleep that well in my dorm! I was up at five am today…eek.

My friends and I are hiking to the bus with our packs (about 1.5 miles back).

There were several small waterfalls and we even hiked along a stream. This is my favorite photo from the trip. 🙂

Our guide wanted to take some “artsy” shots. “Bend your leg! No, your other leg!”

He was so excited to find some edible black mushrooms (black crumpets) to eat.

I loved standing over the bridge. Almost there! We were very tired by this point (the third day, and the day after the hardest hiking day, when we hiked about six miles to the summit).

Actually, the second day, we made it about 2 miles to the trailhead before we heard BADOOOMBOOOOOOOOOM and within thirty seconds, it started pouring rain. We had to turn around and head back to camp. Around 3, it cleared up, and by 4, me and two other girls were bored enough to head back up to try the summit again. Boy, was it steep! The second attempt, we just took rain gear, headlamps, and water. Soooo much easier without packs.

Although it’s challenging, I love hiking! This was my first time hiking, and it really pushes your body in a different way.

Anyway, about .5 of a mile from the summit, we hit some rock stairs. These were some hard-core vertical stairs that were extremely steep. I have some issues with stairs. My balance is not the best, and I fell quite a lot as a child.

BADOOOMBOOOOOOOOOM.

I tried the rock stairs, but it was *so* steep that I was completely convinced I couldn’t make it back down in a downpour without sliding. I went back with one of the more experienced girls, and, sure enough, fifteen minutes down it started to POUR.

Turns out there were FIVE sets of rock stairs total. Eek. The others made it to the top and back down two sets, but they said it was absolutely crazy coming back down the rest of the way.

I was glad I challenged myself, but glad I went with my gut feeling (that I have so often overridden this year). After all, it was only my first time hiking EVER! I think I did pretty well. =D

On Sunday, we were never so glad to see the main road, and civilization, again.


The guides got straight to work cooking the sausages with mushrooms, though.

Three days of backpacking in Phoenicia, New York. One awesome adventure.

My first thought upon returning home? SHOOOOOOOWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!