Grey before the Whites
Thru-Hike turns to Expedition
October 23 near rt 23
The wind knuckled through our jackets from another passing car. I turned to Home Grown who was rubbing the grit from his face. ..”Sometimes” I muttered while eagerly throwing up my thumb to a new unsuspecting driver. Gene has a good temper for getting rides. Patient and optimistic. I’m much the same but with the other side of the coin landing half the time… Sometimes toiling over each empty truck bed and sport utility vehicle with a texting citizen behind the wheel.
Today the toil was brief. Genes hopes began to fade with the sun as the wind picked up again. A single woman in a minivan. Likely suspect for a good shot with mace but to our delight , brake lights. Springing to our toes we were on our way once again. What magic this trail. How can I so easily forget the care and guidance it has given. Foolish of me to doubt.
Reaching the trail we were filled with stories of winter climbing and weather change. A real sparky lady boasted of her husband’s hiking carrier and for good reason. He had done everything ahead of us in winter at age 65. So many amazing people have come before and if we’re responsible, many to follow.
Saddled up and fueled with a few thousand calorie breakfast we put heels down the trail. “Lots of hikers” gene spouts between breaths. Agreeing with a nod I know he can’t see I scuffed through the leaves wondering about feelings. I recall looking at this page were hiking on 7 months back. That’s when things seemed like a faint dreams reality away. Now here I am. Was I expecting a new neuron to connect or maybe a rush of thoughts. No, a simple peace was whistling into me from the trees. Little potato flakes littered the ground in small wind blown colonies. Crackles in the trees confirmed the suspect of ice. Every gust blew in front of us a new picture only seen by us for that blink of a moment. Blessed was the word I needed for this scene.
Camp was set up quickly. Maybe it was the idea of a warm sleeping bag that hustled us or maybe a hot cup of tea. What ever our motive it seemed we were back in the game. Chatter was sparse with the mind bundled with new ideas on how to keep warm. Sometimes sharing a new one was enough to stoke the inner furnace. We filled our bottles hot and tucked them in to bed with a prayer to keep warm tonight.
The winds are still with us. They often free ice from the trees to skate down the tent sides. Small piles are forming on the crystalline ground around the tent. Even this small thing holds so much complexity. Winter brings a new set of eyes to look through. You just have to stop shivering long enough to focus. Staying in the moment will be tonight’s meditation.
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Lisa and I had the pleasure of meeting Smokey, Home Grown and Bailey near Crawford Notch in NH on October 27th. Hope you stay warm and dry for the rest of your trip!!!