These PIGS Can Fly 2000

What's the difference between ham and eggs....?

The chicken is involved, the pig is committed

Wow! What a weekend. Gorgeous weather, a real full moon, some new people to hike with and 3 days of hiking. We hiked Friday night, saw the Saturday sunrise, hiked Saturday evening, saw the sunset and then topped it off with a little jaunt hike on Sunday morning. I think I slept 4 hours Thursday, 2.5 Friday, 1.5 Saturday afternoon and 6 Saturday night. My body is beat up, but my brain is real happy.

The early reference to pigs will make sense as the story wears on. Since everyone got up and on the road so early Sunday morning, there was a general feeling that we had a jump on the day. Of course a sit-down breakfast, sit-down lunch and kamikaze mid-morning hike really use up more time than the hour jump-start we got.

Anyone who drives by Campbellton, NB has to notice that little bump in the road by Sugarloaf. It beckons that little kid spirit that wants to climb hills. A few Gonzo trips have passed by that area vowing to climb the obstacle, and since we had so much time Sunday..., the decision was made to do the dirty deed, once and for all.

Of course, not everyone is into this sort of climbing, even on a fresh day, and we had just finished 2 rather tiring days of hiking, so the crew that crossed the road comprised of only 5 people, 2 of whom were quite content to follow the hiking trail that loops around the base and follows a sharp ridge to the top. However, 3 particular Gonzos (Sun god, Dipper and Mountain Dancer) just had to strike off directly into the face of the mountain, on the off chance that climbing upward and sideways would eventually lead them to the top.

The climb was moderately difficult, involving sparse trees interspersed with lots of little rock piles and sealed off with either scree sections or rock faces that may or may not have singular trees or climbing crevices in them. We aren't into ropes (altho we had some with us) and are limited in what we can safely get over or around. We faced a lot of 4 (and sometimes 5) point contact manoeuvres, where hopefully at least one hand or foot would hold if all else failed.

The best part about this type of activity was the group dynamics involved. Since we hadn't done any real scouting, we basically had to try and pick a climbing line only as we faced obstacles like a 30 foot rock face that didn't seem to have a workable crevice that matched the technical talents of the 3 climbers. Just to make it fun, Sun god has a foot injury that makes his left foot unstable with any moving weight on it.

We all agreed at the start that climbing up something is far easier than climbing down, and (I love this part) we would NOT continue up if we felt that the climb down in any one section would be too dangerous. It takes this sort of blind commitment to even attempt this type of malarkey.

Mountain Dancer lived up to his name and scouted forward, feeding back valuable information that allowed us to not waste energy following a dead line. Each tough section required some level of cooperation between all involved. We all wanted to get this done, but had to deal with the reality of taking too many chances as well.

After 3 or 4 tough sections, we had likely compromised the agreement to ensure that our route down was still doable. More than likely, we would have to continue shuffling right and hope for a better line, or return down Very Slowly.... After a particularly steep section that required all 3 of us together to work each person up and over an obstacle, Sun god stated "I'm the Pig".

It took a few seconds to get the reference to the earlier "Ham and Eggs" joke, but once we got it, the nature of the hike changed. This was a lot of fun, it was exhilarating, there was a bit of danger involved, and we were committed.

We were the PIGS!!!

Another 10 minutes of climbing got us to an open scree area that allowed us to wave to the wonderful Support Crew down in the parking lot. The view was one of a kind and worth every minute of work. After working around another 30 foot face, we came to a false top, started getting a little cocky and only references to the Queen Mum's 100th birthday (ie: close is not good enough) brought us back to the reality that we were not yet at the top. Sure enough, we had one more section to work through, but then we were confronted with dense brush which meant success.

The hike over to the flag was anti-climatic, but the buzz would last all day. We were the PIGS, and PIGS can fly!


Dipper (aka: one of the glorious PIGS!)