John Muir once said, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”
These past several weeks, I have begun to understand what he meant. At least the tired part. But also the home part.
Our July on the trail has been incredibly eventful. It began with a wonderful weekend home celebrating the Fourth of July and it is ending with some stunning glimpses of the Presidential Range.
After the 4th, we returned to VT and were greeted with cold, rushing streams and locked bear boxes. I was taken with the ruggedness of the terrain and the lush, green forests.
My Dad joined us just in time for a 10 mile trek up three mountains in steady, cold, drenching rain. He was such a trooper! And became quickly acquainted with Ver-mud.
The next day, we hiked around Griffith Pond waiting for the sky to decide what to do. All I can say is this: those first rays of sunlight were unlike anything we have ever felt before. Perhaps the wetness and chill of the day before served to enhance the beauty and warmth of the sun. The next few days were spent swimming, hiking, playing card games and laughing our heads off. It was so nice to have my Dad experience a bit of trail life. He also witnessed our first encounter with a bear butt and a bare butt. Naked hiker day was a month ago, but apparently this Vermont gentleman missed the memo. The bear butt was just that. One second, we were babbling away and the next, I was having a mini heart attack watching a small black bear barrel across the trail in front of me. I was the only one who caught a glimpse of him–a hallucination perhaps? After a leisurely day at Little Rock Pond, we hiked into Wallingford, VT to meet my Mom and head home for wedding weekend. A few days off the trail made for some lame trail legs but it was more than worth it to celebrate the wedding of a wonderful friend.
A few days later, we found ourselves at the bottom of Killington physically destroyed after a long day in high temperatures. My hiking buddy Rugby’s knees were in a serious amount of pain so we took it easy the next day. We knew some changes were ahead but we still managed to enjoy our time with lunch in the Killington Lodge and a stunning summit sunset.
By the end of the week, we were learning the difficult but important values of humility and flexibility. Rugby made the tough decision to get off trail to take care of her knees. I am proud of her for being brave, wise and patient through it all. I am confident that there are more AT miles in her future. And I am so incredibly grateful for the ones we have traveled together. Fits of laughter, bear bag videos, creek swimming and some tears–precious moments that I will miss so much!
With the prospect of three weeks of antibiotics and some reevaluating to do, I ended up spending a week at home. It was refreshing and relaxing! I knew that I would want to stay forever if I wasn’t careful, so I planned on jumping ahead from Rutland, VT to Glencliffe, NH to meet a long time kindred spirit, Ranger, who had started her flip-flop thru in May.
What loomed ahead of us, you may ask? What lay along the horizon, beckoning us with rock covered summits and breathtaking ridgelines?
The White Mountains of NH.
Tune in later for a 3 part blog post on our experience in the Whites, including TMI descriptions and lots and lots of pictures.
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