Thursday, June 15, 2006

Spying on the Rich and Famous (A Very Long Story, Part Four)

Day Three (cont'd)

If slope=rise / run, then the slope of Pemetic's descent is approximately 8/25. That's a 32% grade. (Check my math, Jersey Girl.) It was a challenge coming down, especially after Monkey's slipping problems earlier in the day. There were some points when she was crab walking down the mountian (I spared her the ignominy of photographs). Most of our hike down, after the first couple hundred yards (which was relatively smooth rock) was down a rock fall/creek. At any rate, it was a rock fall with a good deal of the recent rain running through it. We had a couple of moments where we were unclear just where the trail was. The most dramatic instance was a point where the trail appeared to simply fall off the edge of a twenty foot cliff. The trail scooted off to one side, and in order to get down you just sort of wedged yourself in between two rocks and shuffled your way through. Pretty exciting, and we managed to stay on the trail the whole way down. As a side note, the photo does no justice to the trail. In a comical bit of irony, after making the arduous descent without incident, Monkey slipped in the wet grass in the parking lot.

After a lunch break, we headed off to the west side of the park to tackle the 284 foot challenge of Flying Mountain. We'd heard it was an easy hike and that it provided good views of Sommes Sound, upon which shores it was situated. It was an easy hike, but there was a collection of folks in front of us with some smallish children (one looked like it had just started walking) and they were definitely in no hurry to get up the mountain. As a result, Monkey and I spent as much time sitting on our asses halfway through the hike as we did actually walking.

When we finally reached the top (in about 15 minutes of actual walking), we looked at each other , like, that's it? But the views were pretty nice. On the shores of the sound (the only true fjord in North America--what do you think about that?), there are quite a few exquisitely large houses. Monkey, having heard that Martha Stewart had recently moved to the island, and that she was having some arts and crafts demonstration the following week, was desperate to track her down. She whipped out the binoculars and started scanning the opposite shore, to no avail. All she could spy were a few hired men mowing wet lawns.

After our fruitless espionage, we trekked north, down Flying Mountain to Valley Cove, where we were greeted with a reassuring sign, telling us the trail was closed any further in order to allow the peregrine falcons nesting on the cliffs ahead to breed and raise their young undisturbed. Breeding peregrines was great news to me. I never saw one while I was there, but the fact that they were breeding is a great sign for a threatened species. Also of note at Valley Cove: I picked up a life bird. A chestnut-sided warbler. How cool is that!

We expected to take a turn here anyway, and headed south down a truck road that ran along the base of the mountain, and back to the car.

Another dinner of fruits de mer, more walking around town, and some reading, and it was dream time. I was finishing The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and it was getting stranger and stranger. The plans for tomorrow were up in the air, since the forecast was sketchy. I dreamed I was stuck at the bottom of a dry well, and a cold rain was pelting me without mercy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know who this Jersey Girl is who you depend on to keep you honest and accurate, but I'd bet she sure is smart - and pretty too.

What an adventure, this hike! I mean, danger in the form of a 32% grade descent AND that con Martha Stewart brewing about PLUS bird espionage?! I read on with bated breath.