Tom Lybeck Original First Light on Marmot Trail

First Light on Marmot Trail

You’ve got to be kidding!

Ever since I embraced Staunton State Park as my favorite place to hike the trails, I’ve made it a point to challenge myself. With its beautiful scenery, it’s easy to get carried away and venture further and further out before heading back. I can usually do 6 or 7 miles before I sense my tank is about empty.

Last fall, my wife Robin and I decided to journey to our favorite lake to capture some pictures, but return a different way. We’d always done this hike as an out and back, but today we were celebrating my birthday. We wanted to do something special. We got an early start.

The lake has a nice spot to take a break. A strategically placed bench, just above a trail marker for “Marmot Trail” offers a view of the water and all that’s going on around it. This was our planned route, the first time we’d try it. The initial climb, starting at the bench, looked intense. I felt like I was going straight up. Shortly after we did the first switchback, we saw three marmots basking away in the sun. I thought to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding! What are the odds of seeing these guys right past the trail sign?” Not bothered by us in the least, we were able to take some fun photographs while we celebrated our good luck.

The climb to the top of Marmot was a challenge, but so rewarding. The vistas were mesmerizing. It was a workout we enjoyed, and it provided a long downhill that gave us a second wind by the time we reached the car. It was a birthday celebration I’ll remember for a long time. It was picturesque and “old guy” accessible to the lake, and back up over the top. I look forward to taking this trail again, until my body says it’s time to stop.