November 19th, 2016 ~ Day 239
I met my friends/hiking buddies, Sabrina and Mike, at the Copperhills Church this morning for the 4 Peak Challenge. This event contains four different peaks on four different mountains in the City of Peoria. Two of these mountains I have never been on. All of us were wearing our “Happy Hikers” shirts. Which by the way, received lots of compliments.
I didn’t make it to the church until six, but I was still really early. The hike didn’t start until seven. Sabrina had mentioned that the firemen were feeding us breakfast, so I had to go early. 😉 It was a chilly morning out as we waited for the hike to begin. I had to put my down vest on to try and stay warm.
Our first peak, East Wing Mountain, is one of the mountains I’ve never been to. Driving from the church to the trailhead we had a ten minute drive. The parking lot was a little ways from the trailhead by a park. It was actually full, so we had to park on the street. The trail began through a neighborhood and people’s back yards backed up to the trail.
It was a well maintained trail, and it had the markers like Sunrise Mountain does. We did a lollipop style hike. Like Sunrise Mountain, you could choose easy or difficult, following the signs for the event they chose the difficult trail for us.
We had a decent uphill climb as we headed towards the peak. With just under 400 feet of elevation gain, we made it to the top without too much difficulty. We took our picture before heading back down. One peak done! I clocked in two miles exactly on my tracker.
Our next peak was Calderwood Butte, not only have I never been here, I have never even heard of this trail before.
We arrived at the trailhead, parking on the street again. They had a station at the beginning of the trailhead with water, orange slices and granola bars. I have to say, this was a very well organized event.
We began with a good climb uphill. Granted the mountain only had a 200 feet of elevation, it seemed higher as I was hiking it. Following the signs at the Y, we made a right turn and we were a little confused, none of us had ever been here before so we didn’t know where we were going. It looked like the trail was heading back toward the parking lot, but we continued on and began to wrap back around the other side of the mountain going the right direction.
We made it to the top easy enough, just a few switchbacks on the back side of the mountain. Two peaks completed, only two to go. Another lollipop style trail, I clocked 1.4 miles on my tracker.
Our third peak, West Wing, I’ve done before once on this journey of hiking everyday for 365 days. I was somewhat familiar with the trails, but of course this hike took me a different direction than I had been before.
The mountains we’ve hiked today give you the option of easy or difficult, and this challenge had chosen difficult each time! They really are making it a challenge.
We had to drive from Calderwood Butte back to the church parking lot for the last two trails. Walking from the parking lot to the trailhead, we began our hike. We hiked along a steady flat trail with gradual inclines for most of the time. Once we began our uphill climb, we were greeted with a false summit, which even included a volunteer. When you’re tired and hot, thinking you’re at the top when you’re not, is the most disappointing part of hiking. We continued on climbing to the top of West Wing as it began to warm up, which I always believe makes a hike the most difficult.
We made it to our third peak! With 500 feet of elevation on this mountain, it is the highest peak so far today. At the summit, Mike needed to take a break, and me, well I needed to register for the National Trail Trek. At 10:30 my phone was open and ready to go. Sometimes I wonder how crazy I am with hiking. In the middle of one event, registering for another, while sitting on top of a mountain. I don’t think I would have it any other way. I’m grateful for Sabrina and Mike for waiting on me so I could register, and I got in! Whoo hoo!
It was a shorter trek getting down the mountain since we didn’t have to loop around the back side. Yet another lollipop style trail, I registered 3.2 miles on my tracker.
Stopping back at the church in between West Wing and our last peak Sunrise Mountain, we rested up a bit. The church offered more snacks and water. There were so many volunteers. I even ran into one of my agents from work.
As we headed to the fourth and final peak, Sunrise Mountain, the one Sabrina and I hiked a couple weeks ago, my legs were beginning to get tired.
Starting out from the church, we began our hike exactly as we had done a couple weeks ago. This mountain differs from the other three we’ve done so far today, in that it isn’t a lollipop, but sort of a figure eight with basically three peaks. The first of the three peaks, I had done a couple weeks ago for the first time. Today, I was tired and decided not to do it, Mike decided not to do it as well, so we headed over to the spot where we could meet Sabrina as she came down the mountain.
Our next peak, there was an option of easy or difficult, of course the challenge chose the difficult way. Mike decided he would do the easy way and he would meet up with us at the next crossing. I wouldn’t say this section was too difficult for me. I’ve done this before, and it’s a short uphill climb. We made it to where we would meet Mike, but instead of meeting him, we received a message for us not to wait for him. After the Summit Challenge last weekend, he was done for the week. I don’t blame him, I was done too.
We again began climbing our third peak. Getting hotter, it was getting harder for me. Once that was done, we did a loop around the last section of the mountain. We came back to where we started the loop and realized we never saw the sign for the peak. The volunteer showed us where it was, and surprise, there now became four peaks on this one mountain.
I grudgingly climbed to the top. If it weren’t for the sign being up there, I probably would have not headed that direction. From that point down, you’d think it would be any easy downhill climb back to the trailhead, but it wasn’t. The section Mike took that was easy heading in, but it was an uphill climb going out. Mike waited for us so we could all finish the hike together.
Totalling 547 feet in elevation for Sunrise Mountain and clocking in at 4.6 miles, this was the hardest hike of the day and I was done!
We made it back to the church, where we received a medal. My first ever hiking medal! They fed us cheeseburgers for lunch and I was starving. This was a great, well organized, community event. I’m grateful for this opportunity to hike two new trails, not only on this journey, but new all together. I had an amazing time and I look forward to doing it again next year. Hopefully we can get more people to join us on our adventure.