• Laura Ventresco

Noon & Jennings Peak: Play Hooky from Work

What do you do when you have one last paid day off from work?...

Don't go to work. Under any circumstance.

Get your dogs, and your friends and go hike instead.

Peaks: Noon & Jennings

Hike Date: 12/7/2017

Mileage: 6 Miles

Summit Beer: Budlight

Hike Time: Unknown exactly due to Blaze's trickery (read below)

It started off with a plan! I convinced my hiking friends Mike and Melissa to also take the day off from work and come hike. They bring their dog Groot, we have a small wolf pack - it's perfection. We set out to hike Noon, Jennings and Sandwich mountain at 8:30am ish (ish because I'm notoriously late for everything) on a random Thursday. It started snowing some light flurries right as we pulled into the parking lot.

The hike started off great. Minimal ice, no snow on the trail. Had to cross a river but we got it done. At one point we took a water break and I hadn't seen Blaze for a bit, so I started calling him. He saunters back on up the trail, from behind us? Kinda weird since he's the trail blazer he is always in front leading us. I give him some water. Not even 2 minutes later we are ready to hike on and get these 3 peaks in the bag...but Blaze. is gone. Again.

This little mischievous dog decided to go chase something in the woods for 45 minutes. Had us all in panic mode yelling for him, looking for him. We couldn't hike forward or we'd lose our spot that we last saw him. Mike dropped his pack and ran ahead to look, the little jerk face saunters back up the trail again. Although happy to see him, he was immediately grounded and leashed.

Mike, Melissa, and Groot

Views were limited due to snow clouds. We fueled up on peppermint Christmas cookies and tried to hike quickly to make up for lost missing blaze time. Noon peak wasn't really marked so we kind of skipped over after a "view" point, and made a beeline for Jennings. As we hiked on the amount of ice increased... and the amount of grip my microspikes had was decreasing. Ever ice skated and hiked at the same time? Scary. Basically there is a giant icy hill in front of you and at any time your spikes may not grip in. Needless to say it was fun but time for a fresh set.

Navigating badasses

Due to the current circumstances we decided to save Sandwich for another day:

  • Limited daylight left (Thanks Blaze)

  • Urgent need for summit beer

  • Limited supplies of Christmas cookies left

  • Lack of views & therefore lack of team moral

Literally so close to Sandwich Mountain.. I'll be back. With Sandwiches next time. Has this pun been done before?

To keep the hike down fun and exciting we took Drakes Brook Trail to mix it up and make a loop hike. Low and behold we had to cross a giant-like raging river. The BEST part of this is that the rocks freeze over with ice. Mike and Melissa are way better at river crossings than me. (Fearless companions) meanwhile I'm stuck on a rock in the middle of the river... contemplating if I have enough cookies left to just live here and not move. Luna had the same thoughts and is glued to my back on the rock behind me.

Because I'm ridiculous & I can visibly see ice on the rocks I'm about to jump to- I decided to stop and put spikes on... in the middle of a raging river in December. It's fine, everything's fine. Spikes on! Instant bravery. I hop across, and look back to see if Luna followed. My baby Loon is crying and stuck back where I suited up spikes. Oh, my heart. I hop back, scoop her up for the rescue and carry her back to shore. Dog mom of the year, thank you, thank you, no applause needed.

... Back to reality my friends have been waiting for my antics and crossed the river 10 minutes ago.

16/52 - The hike of missing Blaze, Luna's river rescue, and Christmas cookies. Thanks for reading!

- Laura the Explorer

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