I don't have any figures as of yet but I would say there were around 50 or 60 of us crazy enough to get out there in what became pouring rain in order to carry on this time honored tradition. We gathered in the parking lot of the Ramada and set out in groups, everyone meandering at a leisurely pace.
Up past the hospital and onto a short flat stretch we ran until we reached Laurel and cut across to Walnut. Here we began the ascent.
Now for those unfamiliar with this mountain, there are two routes available. The first option is to continue up Walnut until reaching the access road to the star. This is a gradual steady grade, interspersed with a few semi flat spots but becomes significantly steeper once on the access road.
Option number two is the old road; the one dating back to when the wheel was first invented. This Romanesque iter features the classic switch back design made popular by mule trains. Not only is the grade continuously steep, but it keeps going and going and going ... This of course was the chosen route.
And as we gained elevation, the precipitation which was evaporating before making it to the ground in the low lands where we started, was pelting us in all its soaking glory.
About halfway up, I decided to switch from stumbling to staggering as my shoes now had that nice squishy feeling which comes from extended liquid immersion. As I stopped in transition and gazed out into the rainy mist before me, I wondered if I might very well be insane.
I mean here's the choice I had this morning:
A) Stay in a nice warm, dry, comfortable bed until such time I am inclined to arise, lured from the comforts of the covers by the tempting aroma of fresh brewed coffee wafting up from the kitchen.
b) Run up (and down) a freakin' mountain on New Year's morning in a torrential downpour!
Ironically once at the summit, all my concern regarding my mental capacity quickly faded as I joined the others in the group - most veterans of this event for numerous years - for the prestigious group photo.
And the experience gives back to all who share in it.
Happy New Year!
“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” - Anon