Amusing Moments on The Whites (Aug 7)

This day was full of amusing moments.  I started hiking from Galehead Hut with Watchless, until I took a break and she went on ahead.  I hiked on to a fork in the trail where I could see a beautiful bald area on a mountain ahead, but the AT did not lead there (side trail off Mt Guyot).  I started to continue on the AT with another thru hiker, but when I realized the trail did not lead to the bald, I felt I had to turn around and check it out.  I said, “Oh!  I want to go over there, I didn’t realize we would miss that!”  My partner said, “Why?…The view?”.  I thought that was pretty funny.  I guess it’s easy to feel like one more view isn’t worth it when we’re seeing so much every day, but I think this one was worth it.  You could just see how beautiful it would be, even from half a mile away- and it was.  When I got there I stayed for a while, remembering similar views from Max Patch summit months ago.  The day was cloudy, and the shadows played on the mountains and valleys below.  When I got back on the AT, I kept telling hikers heading southbound, “You have a good view ahead when you get to the top of this climb!”  Many were day or section- hikers, and each one acted very excited by this news.  Some said, “Really?” even though I was making a relatively predictable statement.  It felt like I was presenting people with a gift just by telling them about it- this was a fun part of the day!

After a few miles I took lunch break (first lunch) on a small side trail promising a view.  This one didn’t pan out for me, but I still took a break there among the trees.  A day hiker had the same idea- she walked towards me and said, “No view?”  She stood by the side of the trail a minute adjusting her pack and then all the sudden lost balance and fell right down.  I guess she had stepped on some loamy soil that gave way under her, but it was so sudden and unexpected.  I really thought it was funny, but I just said, “I do that all the time”.  (This exact thing was repeated a second time for me- a hiker approached me as I was descending, paused to look up at me, and all the sudden fell gently down among the rocks.  She was fine, but it was so surprising it was amusing.  Made me think of how kids fall when they get overwhelmed- I guess we’re all a little out of our league out here, it’s so grand.  We’re all a little off balance).  She just sat there a minute and then asked me for the time.  When I told her, she said acceptingly, “Well, that’s good.  I’m slow, but at least I’m predictably slow”.  I thought that was pretty funny too.

I was not predictably slow throughout the day- no steady pace for me.  I just got lost in the day- sometimes just standing and listening to the sounds around me, or stopping to trace the path I’d taken so far throughout the day.  I thought about how walking through The Whites is to walk through good views day after day after day.  I’m more used to having a great view one day and returning to the green tunnel in the days to follow.  So much to take in, in a way it’s overwhelming.  I can’t imagine hiking quickly through here, unless you’ve been through once before and it’s not so new.  Anyway, this was another good day on the trail, with some laughs thrown in throughout.

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