Recipe: Making a Dream
- 1 young child
- 2 seasoned hikers
- 1 gorgeous mountain range
- 1 angry mother nature (optional)
Step 1: Getting Started
All it takes is a good story teller! Since I can remember (which given my excellent memory skills is not far back) my father has regaled me with funny, adventurous stories of his hiking trips with his close friend, and my uncle, Aaron. He spoke of his adventures on Katahdin, smaller mountains around NJ, and the glorious White Mountains of NH. All of these stories had one major thing in common – the Appalachian Trail!
Step 2: Add Ingredients and Mix
Pictures are worth a thousand words! Or in my case, a thousand memories! I am, unfortunately, unable to recall much from my childhood, except that what the pictures I have can tell. Looking back through the picture books, I can see that as a very young girl (somewhere between the ages of 4-7) my father took me hiking in the NJ area. Pig tales and jeans rolled up, feet in the water, huge smile on my face, I was obviously enjoying the end of a long days hike!
What I do remember, at least parts of, is my first experience in the White Mountains of NH. At the age of 7, my uncle, my father, and myself had traversed up the Ammonoosuc trail and spent the night in the legendary Lakes of the Clouds hut. As we awoke that morning, Mother Nature had reared her ugly head. The winds were howling, threatening to nock over the old hut (or at least that’s what my inexperienced young mind felt), and there was a thick gray foggy soup outside the windows (something I have grown to know as normal in the mountains surrounding Mt. Washington). I was very relieved to hear that the rocks were icy, and we would not be able to begin our hike first thing that morning. So, we hung around the nice and cozy hut, playing games, staying warm, and staying dry. But as the hours ticked by, we would have to embark on the tail end of our trip and brave the nasty weather.
So, my uncle and my father, placed anything and everything they could into my pack, in the hopes that it would weigh me down. Lucky for me, I was wearing every piece of clothing that I had carried up the trail, and I had plenty of room in my pack. At the time, I was angry that they were weighing me down, not understanding the gravity of the poor weather, and how important that extra weight would be. All snuggled up like a little eskimo, a huge, heavy, pack on my back, there was one more piece of equipment I needed to don. My father tied a rope around my waist, and then other end around his, and off we went.
Our trip would take us across the mountain ridge for a short ways, and then down the treacherous Tuckerman’s Ravine. I was promised good weather once we crested the ridge and I just had to withstand the winds, fog, and cold temperatures for a little while. This promise would be delivered!
Across the ridge we went, and Mother Nature decided I had to learn how to fly. She blew as hard as she could, and off I went, soaring into the sky, learning what it felt like to be a kite. The rope my father had tied around my waist was my only lifeline to him and my uncle. This video is a glimpse of what Mt Washington, teamed up with one angry Mother Nature, can deliver.
Shockingly, as we crested the ridge, the winds died down, the fog cleared, and out came the sun to dry our gear and clothes and warm our souls. I had landed safely, now knowing the meaning of soaring like an eagle, and I giggled, splashed, jumped, and pranced my way down the rest of the trail, loving every step, and forgetting my terrors only hours prior. The seed of adventure, danger, and the beauty of Mother Nature had been planted and was ready to grow.
Step 3: Let simmer for Years
You would think this experience would have deterred me from the mountains ever again! Especially the Whites! HA! I am resilient – determined – unwise some may think. I returned to that same trail for many years and with many different people. Every time, I experienced new challenges, new weather, and new memories. The seed grew and flourished and the dream was born. I truly grew to love the Whites and started to plan my adventure of traversing the entire Appalachian Trail.
Step 4: Let cool and saver the taste
As I grew older, my father shared with me his dream of hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. However, as the years went on, this dream began to fade as age and responsibilities started to rear their ugly head. With my love of the mountains well grown, and the idea of hiking the AT planted in my head, watching my father’s dream begin to fade, I vowed I would not allow that to happen to me! I would complete the trail!
This new level of determination now well seated in my soul, I will embark on this dream in July of this year! I will photograph and document my travels and stories, and share them with you, my avid readers, as well as with my father. While I hope you enjoy reading my adventures, seeing what I see, and living through my stories, my original intention was to allow my father to complete his dream through me! He may even be able to join me on parts of the trail! While I am taking on this adventure of a lifetime for myself, I am also doing this for him! Enjoy the stories to come Dad! You shared so many with me, now it’s my turn to share mine with you!
Post note: For those who are interested – I have tackled the “GoFundMe” beast, and have decided that in order to complete this dream, I need your help. If you are interested in assisting financially in this endeavor, please go to this link. If you cannot assist financially, that is fine too! Just keep following and enjoying the pictures and stories to come! Until next time, my readers – Jamie
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