Mountains & Hills

by kfrego

Our hometown of Lyon Mountain ,NY (El 1798′) is an Adirondack Mountain village in the northeast corner of New York state. Linda and I were no strangers to forest covered mountains, long cold winters, and driving when a person should be smart enough to stay home. It wasn’t uncommon for the residents of Lyon Mountain to take alternative routes due to winter storm conditions. Dannemora Mountain (El 2241) might have too much snow or the winds off from Chazy Lake (El 1541′) drifted the highway closed at the Chazy Lake Dam. When we got stopped we just went back and found the route that was open. We weren’t flatlanders who couldn’t function because of a little weather. We were people from the mountain who refused to let our daily lives be stopped by mother natures storms. We worked, played, attended school, and socialized regardless of the weather.

Linda and I adapted to the Montana winters like we had been raised. You work every day and you live your life every day. We did get tested occasionally. One of Linda’s best remembered locations was Kings Hill (El 7300′) between Monarch (El 4600′) and White Sulpher Springs (El 5043′) 51 miles away. We drove two vehicles and shared the kids when moving. We climbed the first mile long steep grade up Kings Hill from the south. Part way up a van ahead of us spun out on the ice and snow and was attempting to maintain control while backing down. He was in the middle of the road when I passed him. He was nearly sideways on the right side when Linda passed him. No way could we have stopped and backed down out of his way.

Our second trip over Kings Hill from the north wasn’t near as precarious, but it wasn’t fun either. We hit Kings Hill after dark. I was driving our camper bus and sent Linda to the summit to wait for me. There was a foot of snow on the road, but traction was good. If Linda had problems she was ahead of me. I reached the summit in the heavy snowstorm and Linda wasn’t there. I had seen nothing amiss in the darkness coming up the hill. I couldn’t make anything of the snow covered tire tracks on top. My heart was in my throat as I cautiously descended the other side. Linda had one kid with her and I had one. Linda had reached the summit in the heavy snowfall and decided to get to the bottom before stopping. Her tail lights in a turnout at the bottom were a welcome sight. All she wanted was to get over Kings Hill. She did the right thing, but scared me when she wasn’t on top. She got herself and our daughter out of harms way.

I have never figured out why the elevation change of 802 feet from Dannemora to Dannemora summit in two miles is a mountain…….and a change of 2800 feet from Monarch to Kings Hill summit in 10 miles is a hill.  Makes you wonder doesn’t it?