On April Fool’s Day Phil and I decided to hike Storm King Mountain after I ran the Grand River Gallop. The joke was on me. My legs burned from the race and the hike was steep! I do not recommend running a 5k and then hiking up a mountain. The Storm King mountain trail is located off of exit 109 on I70. It is about 3 miles each way with 1,500 feet of elevation gain. This trail is rated difficult by the internet, and the internet never lies.
I don’t recommend doing this hike if you are feeling sad or melancholy. The Storm King Mountain trail is a memorial for 14 firefighters that lost their lives trying to extinguish the July 1994 south canyon fire. This hike is beautiful, but it is very somber.
This hike has a lot of red dirt, rocks, burnt trees from the fire, and steep hills. The path is open so you are in the sun the whole way. There is very little shade. It wasn’t very hot the day we did this hike but we got warm very quickly. You will need to carry a lot of water with you and you will need to drink often. I regret not wearing my hydration pack for this hike. Additionally, I wouldn’t recommend doing this hike in the summer.
There are a few places where steps have been built into the mountain to help you climb up the steep hills. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. Once you get to the top you can turn either left or right. There are memorials in both directions in honor of the victims of the fire. I have no photos of the memorials because I think photographing memorials is disrespectful (this is just my opinion though). I can’t describe the feeling I had as I approached the memorial sites, however I can say that the atmosphere at the top was very subdued. I recommend doing this hike and experiencing it for yourself. You will get a great workout and you will leave with a new respect for fire fighters and emergency responders.
Once we made our way back down the mountain I decided that I wanted to leave something in the metal box at the beginning of the trailhead. I searched my backpack looking for something I could put in the box. My backpack is always full of random things. Eventually, I settled on leaving a zebra print hair bow. I’m not sure why I chose to leave this in the box but I did. The box was full of all kinds of things, some practical and some obscure. My hair bow lies somewhere in the middle.
Overall, I enjoyed this hike and I would do it again–I would just do it on a day I didn’t run a race!