Mt Nebo and One More Adventure for 2011
After a week of being sick, or at least not feeling 100% well, I was ready for a few days away from home and hoping to be healthy enough to get back to some semblance of my active lifestyle. The weather the morning of our planned departure was ugly. It’s the first day of our Wedding Anniversary getaway and it’s cold and raining. This is going make packing the car with the luggage, the bikes, the kid and the dog a potentially unpleasant experience. After dropping the dog and the kid off at Grandma’s house, the arrival at our lovely cabin in Mt Nebo State Park was met with limited visibility and a surprising inability to light a fire in the fireplace. All is well though. I can go relax in the enormous spa tub. Or swim in it.
Luckily the next morning provided us with a lovely sunrise from Sunrise Point and a trip down the mountain to Wal-Mart because we forgot the memory card for the camera and coffee. Both would be necessary for the long day of hiking we had planned. After the early run to Wal-Mart and breakfast complete with coffee, we hit the trail. Getting on the Rim Trail was easy considering we could see it from the back porch of our cabin. Heading west, it only took a few minutes to intersect with the Gum Springs Trail. We were at the top of a tall waterfall and a steep hike.
We knew we’d be coming back that way again so chose to stay on the Rim. Skirting the edge of the mountain, looking out over the shadows of the morning light in the valley we came upon Lover’s Leap and then the intersection for the Summit Park Trail. We decided to take the Summit Park Trail since neither of us had been on it and I am so glad we did.
It was a bit more strenuous (great for me!) and rugged than either the Rim or the Bench trails. Named for a hotel that was in full swing on the mountain at the turn of the last century but unfortunately burned to the ground in 1918, this trail was worked on by the CCC company V-1780 made up of WWI veterans. They worked on Mt Nebo from 1933-1935, lending their skill and style to the trails and to many of the structures still in use by Mt Nebo State Park, such as the cabins including the one we stayed in. While almost all of the trails follow routes that existed from the latter years of the 19th century during the mountain area’s heyday as a summer resort, the CCC left an indelible mark here. One that I appreciated so much as we walked the carefully laid stone path through boulder fields, up and down the rock steps , imagining what it must have been like to build all this using hand tools, mules, sweat and determination. When we reached a sign that said “Stone Bridge”, we knew we had to take the cut off trail up to see it. We were rewarded with another beautiful example of the master craftsmanship of the CCC men.
This Stone Bridge would be the trail magic for me, my favorite spot of the day.
A few more miles of hiking back to and around the rest of the Rim Trail including a quick stop at the Visitor’s Center which is not far off trail, we made it back to the cabin just in time for lunch and to plan out the afternoon hike. Of course we’d have to include the Gum Springs Trail, the small section of the Summit Park Trail that we missed in the morning and even though I had been rather intimate with the Bench Trail recently, we wanted to check out the hike in camping for future reference.
With close to 10 miles of rugged hiking under our feet for the day and more than a fair share of waterfalls, we retreated to the cabin to enjoy the sunset, which was magnificent. There are overlooks in the park aptly named Sunrise and Sunset Point, but in the winter, I would gamble that sunset is better viewed from cabin 61. Following our photofest and complete and utter awe at the beauty of the sunset, we dressed for dinner and my sweetheart took me down the mountain again, this time for sushi. Tomorrow’s adventure: Mountain Biking at Old Post. Happy Anniversary to us! Another good year of memories made and looking forward to sharing more sunsets like this one