It's About Time
I will start right off with the title - It's about time! After all, this is an adventure blog. Adventures have been almost non-existent since March. I have tried to make life's ordinary happenings an adventure for you but enough of the every day humdrum. I feel yah! So here is a real one.
This past weekend hubby and I took off to the granite state, New Hampshire for a hike with our son, Patch and his fiancé, Brittany. Yes, we social distanced and all that jazz. I like NH. I think because it is so much like Maine, wild and free the further you go north.
The kids chose the trail, we were just along for the adventure. My friend Sharon teases me about always doing the same trail - some where on the AT. What can I say, I love that trail and since it is almost 2,200 miles long, there are plenty of options. It is always different depending on the season and weather. And, for someone with a short memory, it always seems new. Back to the AT we went, but it wasn't an out and back. We did a partial loop.
We parked one vehicle at the AMC Lodge parking at Crawford Notch on 302 then drove together to where the AT intersects 302. Hike 7.9 miles south on the Appalachian Trail and you will arrive at Zealand Hut, a self-sustaining rustic lodge for hikers. Our hike would take us North up Webster Cliffs, over Mt. Webster, and end at Mt. Jackson, one of the Presidential peaks, a 4000 footer.
Black Bear - Pumpkin Patch - Batman (No. Pumpkin and I did not plan to wear the same thing. It just happened).
Black Bear - Princess - Pumpkin Patch
I have done this part of the trail before, twice to be exact. I knew it was challenging but not too hard. It was "only" 4 miles to where we would pick up the blue blaze back to our return vehicle. But those other two times I had over 1,800 miles of hiking on my rock solid legs. What a difference those 4 miles were when being propelled by months of Lays potato chips, Hershey bars, and Moxie. That was my excuse. This was Princess's first big hike and she wasn't sure what to expect. We took our time together and rested as needed. Our sweethearts encouraged us the whole way as they patiently slowed their pace. It was a stroll in the park for both of them. Especially Pumpkin. His legs are like tree stumps from years of football kicker training.
We finally made it to the peak.
The trail was quiet for the most part on the way up, we saw one Thru-Hiker who sped up the trail like a mountain goat on legs hardened from months of hiking and only a few other hikers. But the summit was all together different. There were people every. We found a spot downwind and to ourselves overlooking the notch we had climbed out of earlier. It was the perfect spot to social distance, eat lunch, rest, and air our feet.
It took us a whopping 6 hours to do those 4 miles. Not too long ago I would have beat myself up for taking so long. I guess, with age does come wisdom. Instead, I relished in the challenge and was thankful I could still do it. Only I hold the key to making it not so hard the next time.
After our break we donned our packs and headed down the blue-blazed trail from where all the other hikers ascended. It was comforting to follow those white blazes of the AT again but it was also a new excitement to try something different. This trail was shorter, roughly only 2.5 miles. But with that shorter distance meant we dropped in elevation much quicker. Much quicker!
Even though we were tired, let me rephrase that, even though I was tired, I was not sore when we reached the summit. About a mile down, my pain button flicked on and my legs screamed at me. My calf muscles yelled at my quads for not pulling their weight and my quads yelled at my brain for not sending enough signals at the right time. By the time we reached the car I was hobbling like an old lady. Oh wait, I am almost an old lady aren't I? My brain started lecturing me, "You've done it now! What were you thinking?" Let's just say it was an early night for me and I slept extremely well for the first time in weeks.
When I woke up the next morning I prepared for the worst. Instead of springing out of bed like I usually do, I slowly moved my legs to the side of the bed and swung them to the floor. I methodically stood up and took a few steps. Behold! Zero pain. I thought I was dreaming. But I wasn't. Not even one little cramp. The body is an amazing machine.
I was so glad to be back out in the woods. I have been outside working in the yard and garden most of the summer which is great therapy also, but nothing beats the woods. I would have preferred more solitude than a popular trail on a Saturday in the White Mountains had to offer but it was still nice to get that green healing that only comes from nature.
I told my friend Sharon I finally ventured off the AT and to another unknown trail. She was glad for me. Maybe that will be the first of many new paths in my future.