Sisters Peak | Ascension Island
When Luke and I returned to Ascension Island, I knew I wanted to tackle Sisters Peak. One of the higher mountains on the island and easily seen from most locations west of Green Mountain, the summit promised some amazing views of Ascension and one hell of a workout for the day.
We woke up early, but not so early as to be blasphemous on a Saturday morning. We loaded up our backpacks with lots of water, a few snacks, and sunscreen and set off to conquer another Letterbox Walk.
Guidebook in one hand and camera in the other, I slowly made my way up the first hill, carefully following Andy and Luke along the narrow, dusty track through the soft red ash. With each step, our boots and lower legs changed color to match the dirt beneath our feet. We passed one cairn and then another, the only evidence that we were going in the right direction.
From the top of the first hill we could look into Perfect Crater and across the hills leading toward North East Bay. We each took a big swig of water and stood for a few minutes to take in the scenery and watch Luke toss some big volcanic rocks down into the Mexican thorn below. We finished our break and pushed on, the pointy summit of Sisters beckoning overhead.
It was my turn to carry Luke. I hoisted my boy onto my back and pressed on up the final hill. My legs burned as my feet shifted in the clinker with each careful step. All was quiet, save for our heavy breathing, the sound of our boots crunching the small volcanic rock underfoot, and the occasional bleat of a sheep somewhere in the distance.
Each time I looked up, the peak seemed to slip a little farther away, in spite of my concerted effort to haul my 30+ pound toddler up the hill on my back. The sun beat down harshly and our climb seemed to slow even more.
At long last, the path began to ease and we could see the letterbox up ahead. Victory! I peeled Luke off my sweaty back and let him run to the top, keeping a careful eye out as he grabbed even more rocks to throw over the edge. The three of us peered over the edge at Perfect Crater and Broken Tooth down below, both looking much smaller than they did from below.
Andy and Luke walked over to the cairn housing the letterbox and pulled out the stamp and logbook to sign. With daddy’s help, Luke pressed the Sisters Peak stamp into our guide book and then wrote “his” take on the day’s hike:
“Great walk and good areas for throwing rocks! My mom and dad hauled me up here on their backs. Good thing I brought my toy airplane “Dusty.” The wind and high views made him fly great. Well, I have to go run toward the edge of this cliff now… Bye bye!”
Luke Emslie (two years old)
Andy shoved the logbook and stamp back into their bag and joined Luke and I at the edge to soak up the view. We enjoyed our apples and some more water, then turned to start our decent.
The trip down took much less time, but felt more precarious as we struggled to keep upright on the loose clinker. After a few near-wipeouts, we finally made it to the trailhead. We stripped off our backpacks and sweaty hats, climbed into the truck, and headed home to wash off the day’s “Ascension Island tan.”