The First Castle Rock

3 Nov

Against my better judgement, I accepted an offer to join some friends for a nighttime hike to Castle Rock.

After a full day off from work and only a short workout at the gym, I decided that I could use a bit more bonding time with some new friends as well as some enjoyment of the nighttime sky (because it will soon be gone for four months). 

We headed out around 11pm for three plus hour hike that is 7 miles round trip.  There were six of us; bundled warm, and prepared with hydration and snacks.  The start of the walk is always the worst part as it’s straight uphill the first 1 mile.  I felt really good heading up the hill and not too out of breath. 

The night sky was slowly making its way out and the light was dissapating.  The weather was great; very little wind and relatively warm, about 5 degrees below zero.  (Remember, it’s all relative!).  We continued on and the fun began.  I hadn’t bonded with most of these folks yet and it was great to walk and talk.  It always seems like during these times are when you learn the most about people.  We talked about all kinds of things from where we were from, previous jobs, to long term goals and aspirations.  It was nice. 

For a few of these folks, hiking Castle Rock was a new experience so we stopped often to take photos and enjoy the views.  Here are a few of the great shots we got:

Getting started for tough for some

We decided to take a group photo after we made it up the first big hill.

A view looking back towards town. The sky was beautiful!

There are two emergency shelters (AKA ‘Apples’) that are great stopping points along the hike.  We decided to stop at the first one to fuel and warm up. 

Wild and crazy crew, but fun! Who would think you could stop hiking in Antarctica and take a break at an apple?

 We continued on and got closer and closer to Castle Rock and amazing views of Mt. Erebus.

Castle Rock is towards the right with Mr. Erebus as the backdrop. These are the amazing views I get the opportunty to see. I feel so lucky!

Once reaching the foot of Castle Rock, we decided to stop for a picnic lunch.  We had water (not yet frozen fortunately) and an almost frozen PB&J.  It gives the term ‘frosty treats’ a whole new meaning.  It had been too many hours since I’d eaten dinner, but this difficult to chew sammy was a great snack.

We headed back to town around 12:15am and slowly watched the sun duck behind the horizon.

The walk back was much easier than getting to there, but since it was late, my energy was just drained.  I felt like just stopping for a break.

Sometimes it okay to just stop and chill.

I even think that part of the way home I was sleep walking.  It was somewhat even terrain, so I was safe. 

We dragged ourselves slowly down the hill to return safely by 1:30am.  I headed right to bed for a short slumber before having to be at work by 8am.  It was a very long next day at work, but so well worth it.  It was the last sunset that I saw this season.  And a great time bonding with my new friends.

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