Friday, September 30: Descent
The hostel has grown on us and we leave so very happy.
Blessed by leaving heavy black plastic bags full of pounds of stuff we don’t need to carry now up and down the mountain.
Blessed by a good nights sleep in a warm bunk room with no mice.
Blessed by Legion and his story.
Blessed by pizza, ice cream sandwiches, hot showers, and a chance for Pat to do her laundry.
And yes, blessed by meeting the only other guest, thru-hiker Opossum, who true to his name stays up late and rises late. I watched his favorite movie with him last night, the animated version of “The Hobbit”, which is a perfect hiker’s tale of the necessity for discovery and growth to leave the comforts of home and set out on an adventure into the unknown.
The hostel wasn’t at all what we expected. And yes, it was just what we needed.
It was a perfect climb up Moosilauke, as perfect an ascent as I could imagine. I gorgeous blue sky day and warm but not too warm. A steady climb up a well maintained trail and along the way the most wonderful scent of pine. And right when I thought that I was kind of done with the ascent, the vista opened into a great expanse of rock and sky.
All week we’d been warned by south bound hikers to prepare for ice and cold on Moosilauke. But today’s tee shirt weather up here and a summit full of families out for a fall picnic.
We grab a good seat for lunch at the top. What a day! Warm and clear and no breeze. Later we’ll learn that weather like this proceeds a hurricane that is now pounding the South Carolina coast.
We meet a man who is eager to answer all our questions on what mountains we’re looking at. Ahead of us the Kinsman’s and Presidential Range that we plan to hike in June.
But everything that goes up, must come down. The Beaver Brook Trail is just what every posting I’ve read says it is, steep and rough. And yes, today wet as well. It’s the one place I’d ever heard Dad talk about falling, slipping down off the trail and needing to be pulled up by passing hikers. We’re slow, super slow, not wanting to fall. And yes, both of us slip and slide, take some hard falls.
The hikers that have passed by going up, pass by us again on their way down. We wonder on how they move so nimbly and fast.
And the trail is beautiful, following cascading waterfalls the whole way down.
At last we make it down after hours of descent, so tired, so grateful we made it. The car is there and we drive around the mountain to pick up our gear from the hostel. Take Pat to urgent care to check out her arm where she fell and pick up fabulous burgers, fries and a Voodoo Beer. Pat’s arm wrapped, my wrist wrapped and my foot on ice. And we made it. We did it. So so happy.
I call Dad to tell him we made it safely home. Tell him too that it took us four and a half hours to come down.
Good Lord! Did you stop to take a smoke?
I give Pat the tee shirt I bought for her at the craft fair, I Go to the Woods to Loose my Mind and Find my Soul. A pine packet for her pocket to take with her the memory of the scent of the trail on Moosilauke.
For yes, as Thomas Merton once wrote,
No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.