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Smith Mountain

27 July 1991

By: Joe Young

A surprising twenty-seven hikers met at 6:00 pm. for a moonlight hike of Smith Mtn. After we carpooled to the roadhead, we began our hike at precisely 7:00 pm. It was still daylight when we arrived at the saddle north of Smith at 8:00 pm., maintaining a steady three miles per hour in so doing. We gazed at the orange glow to the west, which was believed to be caused by the recent eruption of Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines. After the tail end had arrived at the saddle fifteen minutes later we began the scramble up the ridge to the summit.

Five hikers were intimidated by some rock we scrambled over part way up the ridge and they turned back. The going was slow en route. Night hiking was a new experience for several hikers, especially with the rock, brush, loose sand, and steepness of Smith. We arrived on its summit just before 9:30 and stayed just briefly. We found no register can. The temperature was warmer than I had expected it to be throughout the evening.

Our descent was very slow as a few hikers found the brush and poor footing quite challenging. The full moon provided some light, plus on ascent I had placed three lightsticks (first used during the HPS Olympics III & IV) to assist in route finding on the descent. I was able to go around the one tricky rock section.

We arrived at the saddle at 10:30 and picked up three of the hikers who had waited there. We were to encounter the other two before reaching the cars at 11:30. The last arrived at 11:45.

Thanks to Wynne for her patient assistant leadership. Night hiking is not for everyone, and Wynne had to endure some grumbling during the outing. Wynne also gave me a couple of sips from her Carta Blanca cerveza after I had neglected to carry any beer myself.

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