|High mountain lake on Mt. Washington|
|The pounding craggy trail|
The next morning we set out, got our trail map, and some advice from different people, including the guy who drives the ambulance and rescues people from the same Mt. we were going to climb. He tried to deter us but with our goal in mind, we could not be stopped. After a bit of discussion, we planned our route my favorite kind of hike, a loop. Up one trail, and down another. Things were looking up.
The morning of the hike was a beautiful sunny day. We began to prepare our packs and our minds for the trail ahead. Time passed quickly and before we knew it, it was 10:30a.m. and we had a long trail ahead of us. Would the weather hold? Would there be sunlight left for us to find our way down? Did we bring the proper clothing, and what about food and water? Those questions were fleeting. At this point it didn't really matter. We were committed and nothing was going to stop us.
As soon as we stepped foot on the trail I realized that this was no ordinary hike. The path was rocky and went straight in and up what seemed to be a waterfall. Was this really the way? There was no way of telling. As the challenge increased so did our excitement and determination. The weather was spectacular and the sights were too beautiful for words.
The trail was unbelievable. We went through all of my favorite places, forests, wide open spaces, grassy meadows, and steep rocky climbs. Every muscle in our bodies had to be alert and ready for action. We were lucky to be there and blessed to have the health and desire to want to do something like this. When we encountered other people on the trail they were as excited as we were to be spending their time on that beautiful mountain. The friendly, positive nature of everyone on the trail was inspiring. I thought, what could be better than this?
|The reward, and a hot cup of coffee|
|Creek running through trail|
Soon we realized that starting our hike late in the morning, proved to be a foolish thing. As we reached the tree line and entered into the forest, the darkness was starting to show. Navigating through the rocky trail had now become more difficult. Holes in the trail, muddy areas, and of course the killer roots that always seemed to grab our boots and want to throw us to the ground found us at every step. As the sun went down more, the shadows grew long. The sites on the way up the mountain were now taking on a new appearance. The large rocks and fallen trees along the trail began to take on life form. Not just any kind of life form, but the black bear kind of life form. But not just the ordinary black bear kind of black bear life form, but the black bear with cub type. Every where we looked on the trail an imaginary mamma bear and cub were waiting for us. We did not even prepare for bears. No spray, no bells, I guess hiking is a continual learning experience. Good thing we had luck on our side.
As the darkness consumed us, off in the near distance we heard cars driving on a nearby road. Well, at this point, we new we were at the end of the trail. Excited as we were to get to the end, a bit of sadness overcame us knowing that this spectacular trail was wrapping up. Another 10 more minutes, my husband kept saying. It turned out he said it approximately 15 times. About an hour and a half later, we made the bottom of the trail.
It was exciting to be at the end but at the same time I was sad. It was not enough. I wanted more already. I did not want to leave that mountain or that feeling of peace and freedom. The pain in our knees and feet began to pound and reality set in. How could I make this a bigger part of my life? How could I have the ability to share this with my children on a regular basis? These are questions that I would continue to focus on daily but at that moment I needed to know that I could experience another grand hike before we headed back home. I pleaded with Eric to do the Lafayette Loop the following day. He thought I went mad but was taken in by my excitement. Our lives, goals and way of thinking would be slightly different forever more. We were a part of something special and we wanted to share the feeling and the experience. Now we are on a quest to figure out how?