Mt. Jo (2876 ft)
Difficulty: Moderate (the climb was steep, short, and sweet)
Date of Summit: 5/29/2008
Trailhead to Summit of Jo: 1.2 miles
Trip Time: 1.5 hrs
Ascent: 710 ft
On the same day as we stood atop the mighty Mt. Jo, there was an equally impressive feat accomplished 55 years earlier (perhaps a touch more important than our ascent?). In 1953, on the other side of the world and about 26,000 feet higher than we stood, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay were the first humans to summit Mt. Everest, the world's tallest mountain. I like to think that I could hear the spirit of Sir Ed whispering in my ear as I made the final push to the summit while struggling for oxygen through short gasps of air. Although the whispering was probably the wind and the shortness of breath was probably directly related to the head cold I was battling, it was still a great hike on Thursday, May 29th .
The main reason for its greatness was due to the company I was in. My wife, cousin, aunt, and uncle all were along on this hike with me, making it a truly special experience. Suzy and Jim Murr, my aunt and uncle, had come from Ohio to pick up their son (Greg, my cousin) in New York. Greg had just flown in from Berlin, Germany, where he is currently living. The Murrs were nice enough to "stop by" and visit us on their way back to Ohio ("stop by" means driving SIX HOURS OUT OF THE WAY TO SEE US - now THAT'S what I call family!).
Once we were on the trail, the Murr Party had the choice between the short/steep/brutal trail or the long/gradual/easier trail for the ascent. Being extremely fit and optimistic, there was a unanimous decision for the short 'n' brutal trail. With only one or two stops to catch our breath on the way up, we had ascended the peak like champions! It was a beautiful day with beautiful trail conditions - the hordes of black flies were the only problem on this hike, and even they weren't that much trouble. What really surprised me was that we didn't see another person the entire time we were on the trail!
After multiple photo ops and a nice water and snack break at the top (Thank the Lord for Newman O's!), we promptly began our descent down the more gradual trail. All in all, our hike was short and sweet, resulting in a great cardiac challenge and fantastic views. Upon reaching the finish line, my cousin Greg immediately shed his shoes and took advantage of the cool water of Heart Lake. This was definitely one of the more enjoyable hikes that I've been on in the ADK's, and much of that was due to the company I was with!