Echo Mountain via Sam Merril

52 Hike Challenge #15/52

We started our hike at around 8am. The plan was to take the Sam Merril trail to Echo Mountain and Inspiration Point. A total of 11miles, and approximately 2,800  feet elevation gain. As the trail begins, the first 2 miles or so are pretty steep, and you can quickly get out of breath if going to fast. As I looked back, I was amazed how quickly we were ascending.  

   
We took 2 breaks before reaching Echo Mountain; a mountain where a hotel once stood. A hotel built in the late 1800’s by Thaddeus Lowe. There were no roads to this hotel — you reached it by an incline railway that climbed over 1,000 feet. The hotel burned to the ground in a fire, but there are remnants of the grandeur that once shone brightly atop Echo Mountain. At 10:30am, we were atop where the hotel was years ago. Cement stairs and old trolley parts remain. We had snacks, snapped a few pics, explored the surroundings and shouted thru an echo phone, my guess is that is where the name Echo Mountain comes from. After about 3omin or so, we got on our way. 

Christopher pointing to our destination
  

Kevin, Juan, Christopher, Foxxy, and me 😆
   
  


 From there, we headed up to Inspiration point. The trail was marked with signs providing information of the hotel, and its history. Really awesome. Though the trail past Echo Mountain was not as steep, at first, it still felt as if we were not advancing towards the peak. Or, maybe, just maybe could have been the fact that we were tired. Christopher was exhausted and extremely hot. The sun was out and doing what it does best, warm up planet Earth. I always take extra clothe for Christopher in my pack, ALWAYS, with the exception of today 😁. He was wearing a thick long sleeve shirt, and was shy to take it off. I told him that I was hot as well, and if he took off his thermo shirt, I would take off mine. He finally agreed when he was drenched in sweat.  

  

We would count, and his pain would seize( for a while)
counting to 100; by 1’s, 5’s, and 10’s helped Christopher reach his maximum distance YET
 

After some walking, we found a nice shaded area along the trail, and decided to take a break. As much as we really wanted to make it to Inspiration Point, we were extremely tired, and also did not pack enough food and snacks were running low.  About 1 mile short to summit, we decided to take a long much needed break, before heading back down to the parking lot.  

  
 Juan laid down, took a 15min nap. Christopher and Kevin played with dirt and rocks. And I, made lunch. Our favorite, RAMEN NOODLES.  The time was now (approximate) 12:30noon. We ate, enjoyed the view, and soon after started descending. I kept telling myself, and the group, that the way down is usually faster. However, that was not the case, or at least seemed that way. The hike down was much easier, but still felt long and endless, Christopher was EXTREMELY tired. We stopped to re-energize, and to cool down as the sun was out and beaming. One break at Echo Mountain and straight down we went. When we got to the beginning of the trail, now close to 2:45pm, I asked Juan how many miles he tracked with his FitBit watch, “12.4 miles” was his response. I was surprised and happy Christopher hiked the entire trail, all by himself. All he wanted was to go get some ice scream.  On our way home, we were all hungry. STARVING!! A salvadoran restaurant caught Juan’s attention, and mine as well. We stopped, got to munching and headed home. Overall, it was an awesome challenging hike, we all had a blast and agreed to come back with plenty of food. 😆😋🙃

*Due to low battery on my phone, I was unable to snap as many pics as I would have wanted; times are approximate.

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