The Tough Trail

One warm day, we decided to hike up to Mount Aeneas. “M” had car sickness belly-ache from the ocean-like waves in the road heading up to the trailhead. She had a mint to settle her stomach. At the parking lot, a ranger came along, talked a little, and asked us where we were headed. After that, we started out on the trail.

The trail began as an uphill road and we acted a little whiny. “E” felt weak and not powerful. Everyone else just went ahead unmercifully.

At Malfunction Junction, we turned onto the trail toward Mount Aeneas. The trail gets narrow there and it’s the part of the trail that we went on with the Swan Rangers. The trail was getting harder. Dad started stopping every few steps to rest. From looking at the other people on the trail, we found that we had the appearance of true hikers. “E” was still behind. She tried to catch up to rest, but when she did, we would just start again.

We came upon the switchbacks. At the top was a microwave tower and a mountain goat. We walked along the ridge and saw the top of Mount Aeneas. We thought that the end of the trail was near. We were wrong – the worst was yet to come. The trail became steep and grueling. At this point, we saw that some people had taken their backpacks off. We looked at our destination with dread. After a while and after a couple of false hopes, we arrived at the top of Mount Aeneas. Mom, Dad, and “M” thought the steep part was terrible, but “E” didn’t.

At the summit, we looked out towards the Bob Marshall Wilderness. A fire was burning in “The Bob” and a huge plume of smoke puffed on the horizon. After eating our snacks, it was time to head down. It was a loop trail and going down was almost as hard as going up. Scrambling down the rocks was terrible. “E’s” knees hurt and she could hardly stand the weakness. She just propelled her legs forward as she does on all hikes.

At last! We could see the parking lot through the trees! We came out very exhausted. It was hot and flies buzzed everywhere.

Now, when we see the peak of Mount Aeneas from the valley, it has a special meaning. It’s very recognizable and we know that we’ve hiked to the top.


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