Day 30

From Sean: Yes, today Rick conquered Mount Washington, but honestly was there ever a doubt? Could anyone have been surprised? Certainly not our group of seven hikers who had the privilege of accompanying Rick on this weekend’s Presidential journey.

As a faithful reader of Rick’s blogs, I admit that I do not have the skills to effectively convey the experience of hiking alongside Steady — the most fitting trail name if there ever was one. So instead I present a summary of learnings and experiences that capture the weekend experience (sprinkled in with a little advice to future hikers with Rick):

  1. Oft-repeated among us “There’s no quit in Rick.” As an example, if there are two path choices, and someone foolishly says aloud “this looks easier” you can be assured Rick has already sized up the bigger challenge and you best not get in his way or slow him down!
  2. Even more foolhardy: suggest to Rick to take the smooth, but off-trail path? No chance, as Rick is a disciple of the Hiker’s Code: Stay on the Trail.
  3. For future hikers, let it be known that Rick strictly adheres to morning hike start times. He was always the first one up, dressed, sleeping bag and clothes packed, and bed returned to its original condition. And should you not be ready, well be prepared for the stare because he’s going regardless of whether you are.
  4. Confirming previous reports: the celebratory elixir of choice is Long Trail Ale (Amstel Light will do if the LT isn’t available). But what surprised me is Rick’s affinity for boxed Chardonnay, especially when delivered by Girl Scouts (thank you Holden Girl Scouts — your Mizpah care package rocked!).
  5. No matter the situation — challenging trail, inhospitable weather, etc — it’s comforting to have two priests with you, especially when they are Epiphany’s own Thomas Brown (proposed trail-name: “Calves”?) and El Hogar’s Matt Engleby (“Unbreakable”?). The flip side is that you feel really bad about f-bombing after a fall.
  6. It really helps to have an Uber-knowledgeable local hiker. If not for Jay Olmsted (“Man of the Mountain”?), it’s entirely possible that we would have found ourselves on Jefferson instead of Washington.
  7. Yes, New Hampshire, there is a Santana — Carlos Nolasco, who earned his trail name by delighting both AMC huts with his repertoire ranging from Hotel California, Personal Jesus, With or Without You, and Come As You Are.
  8. I’ll say it — we’re calling BS on the Mizpah Hut Jenga record – no way any thru hiker got 34 levels with those blocks!
  9. But believe me when I tell you that a single bird followed Bill Walsh (“Lion”?) from the AMC Highlands all the way through to the summit of Mount Washington. I really did begin to think that he’s right, Betsy has created a drone bird.
  10. But even that bird could not touch “Whitipedia” Rappole for steadily regaling us with facts encompassing (I only have space for a fraction of subjects) 1970’s NFL quarterbacks, obscure books & movies, rock formations, Uber’s valuation, college nicknames, Title 9, the rise and fall of the oil economy…
  11. Rick’s “Thumbs up”: peanut butter on English Muffin, Hershey’s chocolate, VT cheddar cheeseburgers with jalapeños, chocolate milkshakes, mountain peaks, AMC Hut storytellers, Dak Prescott, ALS ONE
  12. Rick’s “Thumbs down”: jelly, gummy bears, red wine, bypass routes, Carson Wentz
  13. This moment, Saturday night at the Mizpah Hut dinner, captures my witness to Rick and his unquenchable desire to find a cure to ALS by 2020:

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The way up was hard…
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The way down was much easier!
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Carlos — “Santana” — came all the way from Houston to join the hike
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Carlos Nolasco, Jay Olmsted, Rick Marks, Bill Walsh, Thomas Brown, Matt Engleby, Sean Dalton, and Whit Rappole

 

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