On Memorial Day, I wanted to get some elevation in with my run, and decided to tackle Lazy Mountain. I have intended sometime during the training for my 50 miler to do Lazy Mountain twice in one day. This did not turn out to be that day.
Since it was a holiday, I had the day off work, and really didn’t want to spend it by myself training, even if it was in the woods. Becky had other stuff going on, but I talked Steven into trying Lazy Mountain with me. I knew he couldn’t do it twice, but I thought we could at least summit once, since he had already done it a few years ago. This did not turn out to be that day either.
Lazy Mountain is not a huge mountain, but its name is deceiving. I think it is called Lazy Mountain because when you look at it from a distance, it seems like it is leaning backwards, almost like it is reclining or laying down. In actuality, however, it is pretty steep. From the parking lot, the elevation gain climbing Lazy is 2,977 feet. There are two paths up the mountain. The first is the old trail, that is 2.1 miles long, and goes straight up the side of the mountain. That trail is brutal. It starts climbing immediately, and is very steep. It also can be muddy, and if it is muddy, it is extremely slippery. The first several times I climbed that route, I did not make it to the top.
There is another, newer, trail, the Lazy Moose trail, that is 3 miles long, and winds back and forth across the lower slopes of Lazy Mountain, with lots of switchbacks, climbing much more gradually. The Lazy Moose trail meets up with the old trail probably about 2/3 of the way up, leaving you with still quite a climb to the summit.
(looking up towards the summit from the junction - that's not the summit, its just in that direction. Just further.)
I had high hopes of summiting, but Steven hadn’t done any other hiking this summer, and just wasn’t ready for this climb. I made sure we both had plenty of water and snacks, and that Daisy had water in her backpack, and that we put on sunscreen and DEET, and off we went.
The Lazy Moose trail has trail markers every 200 feet (distance travelled, not elevation), which is really nice. The trail was clear and well maintained, and easy going. A good bit of it was runnable even on the way up, but Steven wasn’t running. We stopped 3 or 4 times on the way up the Lazy Moose trail, taking 2 hours to travel the 3 miles to where the Lazy Moose meets the old trail.
(Steven taking a break)
I kept a careful eye on Steven, because his cheeks got pretty red, and towards the end, he started saying his stomach wasn’t feeling good. He said it hadn’t been feeling good earlier either (which he hadn’t told me before), so I wasn’t too worried about him, but I didn’t push him either. I made sure he knew we could turn around at any time, but he kept going until the trail junction.
When the Lazy Moose trail joins the old trail, it immediately becomes much steeper, and remains fairly steep the rest of the way to the summit. My legs were still feeling pretty fresh, but I run all the time. Steven took one look at that climb, and decided he was done. He’s 12 years old, and there aren’t too many bear encounters on the trail, probably because it is so heavily travelled, so I *could* have let him go back to the car by himself, and kept going. I just wasn’t comfortable with that, so we headed back.
On the way down, he seemed to be feeling much better (after all, downhill is much easier than uphill, even if you are going fast), and he thought running downhill was fun, so we ran most of the way back down. By this time, we had taken Daisy off her leash, and she had a great time. She would run ahead of us, then turn around and wait for us with this expression on her face that was clearly asking what was taking so long.
The views on this hike are amazing, and the forest that the Lazy Moose trail winds through is beautiful.
All told, we hiked/ran 6 miles, and had a good afternoon together. We need to do stuff like this more often.