Heading out from Cleveland Dam with the Kneeknacker training group, I hadn't planned on ending up on top of Hollyburn Mountain. As usual I started off too big for my britches and not long after all those wretched stairs up through the British Properties were behind us, I slowly but surely got dropped by the group I had been running with. Unless I wanted to spend the rest of my morning alone, I had to either speed up or slow down. I chose not only the more prudent option, but also the only one that I was capable of at the time, and proceeded to take it easy. By the time I hit the snow, I was happy to have been finally joined by a few folks. As we headed along the cross country ski route, a few more aspiring Kneeknackers caught up and we had now formed a decent sized pack.
It wasn’t until we were all standing on the top of a little, snow covered rise that I realised my head-down-eyes-to-the-ground approach to this uphill section had made me miss the turnoff towards the end of the day’s planned out and back route. We stood there in an overcast chill contemplating our next move. Surrounded by t-shirts, singlets and short-shorts, I was the only one of us wearing so much as a long sleeve shirt. After one woman in our group claimed the top of the mountain to be at least another forty-five minutes of climbing, the more reasonable among us turned and headed back, while a foolhardy few pressed ever onward and upward.
Luckily, our friend’s estimated time of arrival was substantially off the mark and in no time I was standing on Hollyburn Peak along with Stephen, James and Stetson the wonder dog. We took a good thirty or forty seconds to enjoy the panoramic views of dismal, grey, cloudy, socked-in everything before turning around and heading for home. I’ve never met a glissade that I didn’t like, so slipping, sliding and shoe-skiing down the mountain was, of course, a blast.
We took our time retracing our steps back along the cross-country trails and then let it rip down the Hollyburn Chute and on to the finish back at Cleveland Dam. The whole operation took about three and a quarter hours, for those keeping track. It’s now a couple days later and my legs are still a little bit sore, so I must have done something right. It was a good time and my first mountaintop of the year.