High Atop Death Mountain

Posted: January 5, 2009 in Traveling
Tags: , ,

**Warning It’s a Long One**

So the barrage of posts I promised is starting! Tonight I’ll be taking you on a trip, a trip like none other I have ever been on, a trip camping on top of death mountain! Ok, it’s actually called Blue Mountain but I’m sure many will agree with my name!

Starting out on the Hike- Robin, Dawson, Michael, Me, Michaela

Starting out on the Hike- Robin, Dawson, Michael, Me, Michaela

How did this all come about you ask? Why on earth would I be spending the night on top of a Mountain in the middle of the winter? Well it all goes back to Climbing Yonah. On our trip was Michaela Shelnut who’s dad is an avid outdoors man. After hiking that trip I mentioned a couple of times, in passing, it would be fun to do again! Well, last Saturday while I was sitting in Atlanta the Shelnuts called and told me they were stopping by REI and to come join them. While in the store Michael pointed to all of the stuff he had, the bags, the tents and the cook wear…. I mentioned I’m sure it would be fun to go overnight on top of a mountain and he said “well come with us next time!” Thinking this would be a few months down the road I said sure! Well Monday night I get told “we’re going camping tomorrow!” So of course I was in!

Me Hiking the Mountain with my Massive Backpack!

Me Hiking the Mountain with my Massive Backpack!

Now, as I am not an avid outdoors man like some of you may have expected, I don’t have all of the “gear” that people trekking to the top of Death Mountain (Blue Mountain) in the middle of the winter might carry. No problem my hiking party says as Michael and his Brother Jeff have tons of equipment that I can borrow!

The first thing I’m given is a bag the size of a small child to lug up the mountain! I thought the bag I carried up Mount Yonah was huge! This thing had everything from sleeping bags to tents in it! I was surprised to not find any flare guns or bow and arrows this time around though!

Setting Out

Dawson and Me Hiking the Trail

Dawson and Me Hiking the Trail

After packing our bags it was finally time to set out on our expedition. Driving to the starting point seemed forever because the mountains just seemed to grow and grow with every mile. “I have to climb that!” I continually thought.

Finally arriving at the base of Death Mountain we unpacked our gear and put them on our backs. When my pack was finally on I can tell you that if I would have started falling backwards, I wouldn’t have stopped for a while! The most dangerous part of the trip, or so we were told at that time, was crossing the road to get to the trail head! After making it across we start the 2.2 mile journey to the top!

Me and Michaela

Me and Michaela

While this trail was not nearly the difficulty as Yonah, carrying 420 pounds of equipment on your back up boulders is quite difficult! Dawson was our expedition point man on this trip, followed by Michaela and myself, then somewhere behind us Robin and Michael! Hiking up was very comical! You’ll have to ask me for those stories though 😉 After about a two and a half hour hike we finally make it to the top of the Mountain where the rest of our party was waiting (they did the 6+ mile hike from the other starting point).

Making it to the Top

This was my tent...

This was my tent...

Once we get to the top it is time to set up our tents! This is where the fun really begins! Michael tells me to get my tent out of my bag to come set up. An easy task you say? I figured it would be! Until I couldn’t find the tent, I even had Michaela look for it! We came up empty.. then Michael comes over and finds it. “That is not a tent!” I think to myself, “That is an American Flag wrapped in an ugly green tarp!”. Oh how wrong I was. We then proceeded to set up our tents on the Mountain. Michael and Robin had a nice big tent, Michaela and Dawson had a fancy looking professional mountain climbing tent… and me? Well I had that green tarp draped over a pole!

Michaela and I eat our Mountain Man Food that she prepared!

Michaela and I eat our Mountain Man Food that she prepared!

Then it was time to gather firewood and purify water! Not to mention we were starving! We brought Hot Dogs and Mountain Man meals. Now Michaela had talked up the Lasagna Mountain Man Meal so I was ready to eat it! She “cooked” us a helping of it and needless to say it wasn’t quite the lasagna your grandmother cooks! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, especially for the top of Death Mountain! Michaels and my task was to cook the hot dogs over the fire. Most… no all… of mine had quite a bit of ash on them! I wiped it off so no one knew which were mine though 🙂

Robin, Dawson and Me Playing Cards

Robin, Dawson and Me Playing Cards

After eating we sat around and played a few card games, I showed them a few card tricks, and we talked to Maci (the youngest who made a wise choice sleeping at home) who thought we were all Mama! It was quite comical!

Michaela, Dawson and Me in our Longjohns, Socks and other Winter Gear!

Michaela, Dawson and Me in our Longjohns, Socks and other Winter Gear!

Bed Time

Me getting ready for my night in the Death Trap!

Me getting ready for my night in the Death Trap!

As it gets later we decide it’s time to hit the sack. By later I mean 9:30! Now by this point the wind is Howling! It literally sounded like a freight train coming through the mountain!

I get in my tent which is blowing around like an American Flag! I felt like I was on top of a tent pole! Michael tried tying down the sides of the tent to keep me from blowing away! Finally everyone settles down and all gets quite, except for the freight train (wind) making a constant run through the mountain every five minutes!

Me in my New Tent! Thank you Robin!

Me in my New Tent! Thank you Robin!

Around 12:30am I see this light coming through the top of my tent. “It’s Morning! Finally!” I think to myself! Then I hear Robin- “Blake! Are you freezing?” I politely respond no even though it is like a wind tunnel in my tent and I have every layer of clothing on I have with me! “Yes you are, get out here” she says. The first thing I think is “Oh no, we’re going to have to hike down the mountain at 12:30!” But Robin was simply being my saving grace and moving me to Dawsons Tent! At least there wasn’t a wind tunnel in his! Throughout the night, in addition to the freight train, I hear Robin asking Michael if we can leave yet! It was fantastically funny!

Our Hiking Group at the Shelter

Our Hiking Group at the Shelter

The next morning I wake up to Michaela and Robin yelling over to make sure we were still alive! I could barley say I was… but we had survived the night! It was then time to pack up and head down the mountain for a warm meal! We had originally intended to cook grits at the top, but decided we were ready to get off that mountain!

We made it down around 10am and headed back to their house, then I headed out to Atlanta for the Chick Fil A Bowl… But that’s another post!

All in all it was a Fantastic Trip! I know it sounded rough in this post, and don’t get me wrong it was, but it is something I hope to do again soon! Thank you Shelnuts for inviting me! I’m thinking another one soon!

Till Next Time
-Blake

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Comments
  1. […] I was free till Wednesday afternoon so I headed back up to the house. This was when I did the Night On Death Mountain which I wouldn’t have gotten to do if I was in Idaho, so see, some benefits of not going […]

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