This picture does not do the view justice. Go onto Flickr and search "Bald Mountain". About 90% of the pictures are of people on the cliffs, but every once in awhile you get an amazing landscape view. The hike is a nine hundred foot vertical gain. For reasons that none of us could understand, we decided to make this hike at 4 o'clock this morning. The last time I made this journey (two weeks ago) I was stung repeatedly by a swarm of bees, so i was apprehensive about the hike to begin with. Even with the bee stings not yet healed, I was crazy enough to do this hike again. In the dark. With a keychain flashlight. Obviously my crazy outranks my smart.
The hike up the mountain can only be described as grueling. There is not zig-zagging up. It is straight uphill for miles upon miles. Occasionally, there is a three foot spot of flat land where you can collapse into a pile of leaves, curl up into the fetal position, and cry. So far I've only done the collapsing part.
Eventually, you stumble upon a clearing. I do not know who made this clearing, but there is a fire pit and a pitiful folding chair. Do not sit in this chair. It will not break, but there is an entire ecosystem within the seat that should not be disturbed. Just past this clearing, you can wander into the woods and find a small stream of the coldest water I have ever encountered that has not already frozen over. Do not drink this water. Splash it all over your face, but do not get too much of it in your mouth.
Further uphill, and the path turns to scree. Horrible, slippery, you-will-fall-on-your-ass-at-least-once scree. You will claw your way up this scree until you actually start just climbing rocks. Do not give up, you are almost there. Once you climb those rocks, you get to see it:
Stay in this place as long as you can. There is not logical way down the mountain, you will want to save your strength, and it is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see.
Today, we reached the cliffs at 6 in the morning. the full moon had already set, but we got to see a pretty great sunrise. Much like childbirth, once I see this view, I completely forget about the pain it took to get there and I will do it over and over again.