Until The Next One…

Me resting at the top.

So I had planned to write my next blog entry on either writing dialogue, which is tough to master, or how Iwrite. But as I opened my file of blog posts (all saved in one word document) I realized I hadn’t written about the actual trip of my hiking trip, only how I got to the initial destination.

And how could I not when I said I would? (I’m really good at experiencing things and remembering them, but I’d be much better if I’d just write it all down while it was fresh in my mind!)

We stayed in a friend’s backyard, in our tents (mine was too small and my air mattress just barely fit, but let’s not go there; it’s a sore subject for me, ha!). The morning of our hike, we woke a little late since we were expecting another member of our group to arrive around eight in the morning. Well, I woke early, around 5:30, and tossed and turned trying to find a comfortable position since a) I had to pee and the house was locked and b) my air mattress deflated and I was half on the ground and half on cushioning. Don’t get me wrong, I love camping—the burning cedar smell in the flames, the crickets chirping and the leaves rustling from a stiff breeze—but I hate sleeping on a hard surface. I just can’t do it.

Around seven we’re all up and had our fill of fresh apple cider and apples and most of us (not including me) are dressed. Our host, the brother-in-law of one of our group, is one of those guys who will tell you everything about a location if he knows it. He and his children take us on a trail up the small hill behind his house, through woods, and over creeks of mostly mud, rays of sunrise shooting through the leaves, illuminating and blinding at the same time. In that moment I feel like I am back in my home town, and I am his children’s age again, hiking through the woods in my backyard, climbing trees and cutting paths. I only allow myself to trapeze down that path for a few moments since my silly self left flip-flops on instead of putting on my hiking boots (though I wasn’t the only one—my friend also wore his flip-flops).

Trees that had fallen continued to grow, a thicker branch taking the role of trunk. Leaves and branches blanket the trail bed, rocks in short fence-like stacks line cut across the path, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms pop up unexpectedly. We come off the trail and into an abandoned quarry where they chipped away for blue quartz to make glass.

Rays of morning sun slice against the rocks at the top of the quarry and I think, I’ve never seen the east coast sky this blue. Denver, yes. A mile above sea-level… but here. Stunning.

When we get back to the house, our 7th member has arrived after an all-night drive from Pennsylvania. By the time we have breakfast and climb into the van, it’s near 10am. And of course, some in our group have to stop to stock up on grub for the top of the mountain.

At the mountain parking lot, we realize it’s Columbus Day weekend and everyone is on vacation and the lot is full! We try the next lot and there’s a line.

So instead, we head over to North Pack Monadnock, just slightly north (or east or west—as you’ll learn about me, I have no sense of direction) of Mount Monadnock. It doesn’t have the altitude of Mount Monadnock, but it definitely has the muscle-toning, sweat-inducing climbs and trails. At the top view is stunning. Miles and miles of waving trees and mountains, as I would learn that were dropped in the state hundreds of thousands of years ago by passing glaciers. I can actually see the groves and lines of the glaciers if you look closely at them while you’re climbing.

If the day had been any clearer, I think I could’ve seen the tops of buildings in Boston.

It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen… that is until the next one comes around.

A view toward Boston.

My signature mountaintop shot: my feet near the edge for perspective.

A view looking toward Mount Monadnock.

What I call the "airplane" shot.

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