To Those Who Think I Can’t
After a grueling climb up Mt. Madison, I crested the top. I was expecting amazing views to reward my efforts, but instead was greeted by the last thing I wanted: sprinkling raindrops and big grey clouds. I scurried down the rock scramble and was grateful for the protection of Madison Spring Hut. Shortly after I arrived, my friends Buck, Frankenfoot and Dot walked in.
“The rain is such a bummer, but I don’t think it’s that bad. I might try to push on.”
They all looked at me in horror and quickly said “Uhh, no you will not. It’s supposed to hail and lightning in about an hour and you’re not going over the tallest peak in the northeast in that kind of weather.” Not long after that the weather did indeed take a dark turn.
So maybe they were right.
I stayed in the hut that night, but you can bet the next day Buck and I were whooping and hollering up and down Mt. Washington (I’m pretty sure we got some funny looks from day hikers). The views coming down from the peak were some of the best I’ve seen on the entire trail, and it was even better that I got to spend it with friends!
That day some of my other friends, Achilles and Treebeard, were hatching plans to summit Mt. Moosilauke at sunrise a few days later. It sounded to me like an amazing way to end the Whites, and I began thinking that I wanted to join them. A man that was staying at the same place as us came over and joined the conversation.
“Mt. Moosilauke is one of the hardest climbs in the Whites, you’ll never be able to get up there by sunrise. And the trail that you’re hiking tomorrow will also be some of the toughest terrain you’ll have seen all trail. Just make sure you’re prepared for that.”
Why thank you kind sir for your unsolicited opinion. I would hope that hiking the 350 miles from Katahdin would prepare me well enough for tomorrow’s journey.
That’s about when I realized when to be weary of the trail and when to push on. Countless times through the end of Maine I came across hikers that would tell me the upcoming mountain was “an ass-kicker” or that I shouldn’t plan on doing more than 10 miles that day. But no part of the trail has been life threatening or especially dangerous, and I know at LEAST one person that has hiked the entire trail (ok maybe a couple more), so I should be fine, right?
Every hiker has their priorities, but for me there’s a difference between stopping short because of bad weather and not continuing on because someone told you that maybe you should be kind of worried about the miles ahead.
Needless to say, I survived the whites, summited Moosilauke at sunrise, and pulled out a couple more 20+ days. AND DIDN’T DIE.
The next time I’m approached by the nay sayers or the Negative Nellys, the “are you sure you’re capable of that?”ers or those who ask if I can keep up with the boys, I’ll have a response for them.
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