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wundayatta's avatar

What did you do in the mountains?

Asked by wundayatta (58625points) June 22nd, 2012

We were climbing some mountain in Switzerland—my family and I. I was maybe 17 or so. There was a bright blue sky. We had been climbing down a series of switchbacks, descending from the top where we’d been earlier in the day. Just as we turned the corner of a switchback, a storm blew in from nowhere. Right there was this little, natural alcove—a stone roof overhead and a plinth in front, with a posy of flowers growing on top.

It was so beautiful to stand there, out of the rain, watching the storm through the flowers. The rain beaded on the stems, and a mist got us gently wet, which was nice, since we were hot from the descent. It was just one sibling and I, at that point. I guess we had spread out along the path.

Then the storm left and the sun came out, and I don’t remember if there was a rainbow or not. Probably. It had that feel of rainbow—darkness and sunshine in sharp opposition, and color in the sky. The sun was low in the sky, and the yellows and greens were deep and vibrant.

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22 Answers

linguaphile's avatar

I grew up in the Smoky Mountains, and am going to live in the Rockies. I’ve hiked, fished, rafted, camped, partied, contemplated life and the universe—all kinds of things in both mountains.

I’ve seen heaven’s heartbeats in the mountains—that’s how much I love them.

The most spectacular mountain moment I had was seeing 5 rainbows all at once, in concentric arcs.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My grandfather and I used to take drives into the mountains to “get lost”. We’d hope to come across new roads and trails to go adventuring along. We’d climb mountains and take a hammer and screwdriver along so we could dig for fossils, we’d also pick wildflowers and put them in soda bottle vases in the backseat ice chest. I can’t count the number of times we found little relics like old coins, a ring, a locket, an ancient deck of cards in a rusting tin box, antique household things. Always, we’d fish the mountain streams and creeks where for the longest time, I assumed Rainbow Trout were the only kind of trout.

zenvelo's avatar

I climber Tower Peak, the northernmost peak in Yosemite, when I was 14. We ate lunch at the summit, looking down about 2,000 fee to the saddle between two valleys, and a ridge just west called the Saurian Crest (it did look like a dinosaur’s back). While we looked, a golden eagle cruised from the valley to the north, caught the updraft over the saddle, and came up to our elevation. He hovered for a few seconds, then dove to the lake, skimmed the surface and carried something away.

Coloma's avatar

I live in the high foothills of the Sierra Nevada range. What do I do? I just revel in the beauty of the environment. Right now a magnificent, breezy, 60 something degree morning, going for a high of 77–79. Sublime. I go outside first thing on summer mornings and just in-joy watching the birds and the deer and the neighboring horses and mules and sheep and my cats frolicking in our little paradise.

Last night I went outside around 11 to my hot tub for some star gazing, but first, I like to walk up my long driveway at night and just take in the darkness, the night sky and the view of my little house with the solar torches on my ranch gate. I enjoy the delightful fear feeling of wondering if a mountain lion is watching me, the sound of the Coyotes whooping it up over a kill and the silence of the night, except for the Screech Owls and mysterious rustling in the bushes. haha

Aethelwine's avatar

My favorite mountain experience was whitewater rafting down the Arkansas River in Colorado. It was class III & class IV rapids and our very first time whitewater rafting. One of the best moments of my life.

Coloma's avatar

@jonsblond You’d love my river here! C’mon out and take a run through “Hellhole” “Satans Cesspool” &“Troublemaker” Our river draws in over a 100,000 tourists a season from all over the world!

tom_g's avatar

Hiking with my father, uncle, and cousins in New Hampshire (Hedgehog Mountain) when I was around 12 or 13 years old. We came across a mother bear and her 3 cubs. We were pretty close. We stood watching and she seemed to get nervous and nudge her cubs up a tree. They climbed up and just hung on there for awhile. A few minutes later, the bear was still nervous about our presence and got up on her hind legs and grabbed the tree, shaking it and sending her cubs further up. The site of this large black bear up on 2 legs was scary enough to prompt my father to suggest we move on.

Coloma's avatar

@tom_g What a great encounter! Good thing it was a black bear, a mama brown most likely would have been far more aggressive, but you also gave mama bear due respect.
I’ll never forget coming face to face with a big mountain lion behind my barn one night about 10 years ago. Whew…a freeze moment and then, the cat just turned and silently disappeared into the woods. I was half excited and half terrified.

tom_g's avatar

@Coloma – Actually, even though it was a black bear, I would never take a chance like that with my kids. We were close enough to appear as a reasonable threat. My father wasn’t famous for good judgement – like the time we visited a dump near his (then) home at the northern tip of NH…to see the bears. _“Son, why don’t you take your camera and get down there a little closer”. The bear turned and somewhat charged me. In my attempt to flee, I cut my leg open on dump debris. </fatheroftheyear>

I probably shouldn’t judge – I did go hiking at night in Joshua Tree with a friend of mine. We attempted to approach one of those amazing piles of rocks. When we got 5 feet from it, we heard what sounded like a very large cat growling. Stupid.

Coloma's avatar

@tom_g Good call with the kids for sure. I know, some people are so stupid, uh, and WHAT are ya gonna do when you run out of marshmallows, have an intellectual discussion with the bear about not biting the hand that just fed it?
I was in the Redwoods a few years ago and the Elk were in breeding/calving season and we came a cross a herd with the biggest bull Elk ever and these insane tourists were trying to get as close as possible to this guy and his cows and calves.
Mountain lions are always watching, you might not see them but they will always see you! ;-)

syz's avatar

When it’s 98 degrees and 80 percent humidity at home, we go camping at Mt Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi. The elevation means that at most it’s in the 70’s during the day, and you need a sweatshirt at night. The fir trees perfume the air, and it smells like Christmas year round.

Sitting in the dark around a dying campfire one night, watching the sunset back-light the clouds getting snagged on the mountaintops, I felt something repeatedly brushing my hair. I thought it was a bat until it perched in a tree. The light of a flashlight revealed a tiny saw-whet owl. Of course, since I ruined his night vision, he sat with us for the next half hour as we watched the stars come out.

(I also had a very close encounter with a black bear sow and her cub while hiking a section of the AT, but that was a much less relaxing experience.)

thorninmud's avatar

On our second anniversary road trip, my wife and I stopped to do an overnight hike into the Wind River range in Wyoming. We had both done a lot of backpacking before, but this was our first hike together.

There was a steady rain as we started out, but just enough blue on the horizon to tease us into thinking it might let up. We were switch-backing up toward a high pass, headed for a lake on the other side. Switch-backing kind of saps your morale under the best of conditions; with the rain steadily pissing on us, though, it was starting to feel downright grim.

Every twenty minutes or so, my wife asked “Do you think we should go on, or turn back?” I was still unskilled enough in the subtleties of marital communication to think that I was actually being asked to evaluate the merits of two options being presented for my consideration. So I kept saying, “Nah, let’s go on”. As I later learned, the appropriate reply would have been, “Well, what would you like to do?” Who knew?

As we got above the tree line, the rain became a full-blown thunderstorm. We were completely exposed now, and lightning was strobing all around us. We were drenched, exhausted, cold and now we were apparently being hunted by Thor. My wife had stopped asking me anything at all, but I sensed that this wasn’t a good sign.

We finally got to the saddle of the pass, and had to pick our way through a mud patch. My wife’s toe caught a rock, and she did a perfect face-plant into the mud, driven home by the heavy pack she was carrying. As I helped her back up, she said, “Do you want a divorce?”. Now this too seemed to be asking for a pretty straightforward choice on my part, but my recent experience had lead me to believe that a simple yes or no wasn’t what was being solicited here. By some miracle, I stumbled upon what turned out to be the proper response: an unqualified apology.

Anyway, the hike back out the next day was breathtakingly beautiful, the make-up sex was fantastic, and we’re still married 28 years later. But I still hear about it.

Coloma's avatar

@thorninmud LOL…going face down in the mud under a heavy pack would really piss me off, at least temporarily, then, hopefully, my natural good humor would kick in before I pushed you off a cliff. Or..I’d laugh as you plummeted to your death. haha

deni's avatar

Though I love the Rocky Mountains and live here now, and grew up in the Appalachians of western PA, I will never forget a hike I did on the border of Maine and New Hampshire. It was called Blueberry Ridge. And it was that time of year. There were blueberries all over. It was a steep grueling hike and when we got to the top the view was unreal. Not totally different from views you can see in the lower Appalachians or the Rockies, it was just that I didn’t know that it was going to be that way, and the surprise was one of the most delightful things ever.

ucme's avatar

I mounted my then girlfriend & rode her whilst she sang, “she’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes…yee-hah!”

deni's avatar

This is a great question. It evokes a lot of emotion, at least for me!

YARNLADY's avatar

I used to get car sick a lot. We had to drive from the Eastern Slope of the Rockies to the western slope several times a year to visit my grandparents. This was in the days before the Eisenhower Tunnel, when Dad had to drive on a two lane, twisting, turning road that could have doubled for an amusement park roller coaster, except it went on for hour after hour.

Dad always traveled on a tight schedule and wouldn’t pull over for anything. I had to carry a small bucket to throw up in. One year we took our dog, and everytime the dog started his hack, hack, cough, cough Dad would pull over to let him throw up outside the car.

The dog would run to the nearest bush, lift his leg, and then hop back in the car. It never occurred to us kids to resent that Dad stopped for the dog, but not for us. We just laughed ourselves silly.

flutherother's avatar

Half way up Ben Lawers one summer’s day a little dust storm appeared. It moved up the hillside in a swirling cloud of dust that grew taller and then smaller but never quite disappeared. It stopped quite close by as if peering at us and we stared back at it and then suddenly it was gone.

Berserker's avatar

Never went mountain exploring…I’d like to though. Not mountain climbing, I don’t want to challenge nature. But hiking through them would be cool.
I actually live in ’‘mountains’’, at least my area is situated in the Laurentiens, which is a mountain range. But yeah, actual mountain exploring. What I’d really love to check out is caves. But I wouldn’t go without an expert, or at least, without suitable equipment. I’d be tempted to…but I know better lol.

lillycoyote's avatar

I looked at the stars. They were amazing.

Aster's avatar

We camped in a pup tent, a rented RV and many cabins. Bathed in a freezing stream at dusk, cooked breakfast outside, washed clothes in a stream, picked berries off the side of the road, cooked tacos in the town park (outstanding!) rode motorcycles all throughout the Rockies (I was the passenger) and many things I can’t recall. This was when we lived in Northern Colorado.
I think I was most impressed with the Grand Tetons, though. I stared at them from a cabin window one gorgeous morning.

Sunny2's avatar

Sitting in the grass partly up the Jungfrau, watching and listening to the cows and their wonderful bells , the view down the slope to the miniature village below;
Watching fireworks from above on Mount Monadnock;
Skiing cross-country on Mt. Rainier, the hushed silence except for occasional snow plopping from pine trees and the skis on the snow.
Ah, memories.

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