From Ted: Batwing and I set out this morning to “stitch” (hiker slang verb: to complete a section of trail previously missed) a bit for Rick. We began at USFS 10 (elevation 1,517 feet) summited Baker (2,860 ft), Peru (3,429 ft), and Styles (3,394 ft) Peaks and ended 12 miles south at Mad Tom Notch Road (2,443 ft).
The first things that we noticed coming back to Vermont were the gentle rolling nature of the hills and the ease of hiking on the softer less slippery schist https://flexiblelearning.auckland.ac.nz/rocks_minerals/rocks/schist.html rather than on New Hampshire’s hard granite. The combination makes hiking in the area much easier on the knees and hamstrings. Yes, we discussed being ankle deep in schist and numerous variations on the theme along the way, then settled in for a delicious hikers’ lunch and swim at Griffith Lake. Along the way we noticed views and outlooks that Rick would appreciate and the approaches which would have been onerous for him. While Rick was not with us today he was very much on our minds and in our hearts.
There is something irreducible about hiking. Things are simple. Cause and effect cannot be renegotiated or avoided. If you forget to carry a jacket and the weather shifts you will be cold; if your equipment fails, you either know how to fix it or you do without; there is no running to the store to buy your way out of a jam. Perhaps that is one reason why hikers tend to be so helpful and kind to each other on the trail. We all have an appreciation for how quickly things can go sideways and know how important a helping hand can be. Or maybe it is just the beautiful surroundings we are in and the great relief of not having to listen to the 24 hour news cycle and constant electronic chatter that mark our lives these days. For whatever reason, everyone that we met today greeted us warmly and offered us helpful news of conditions on the trail ahead. What a contrast to Boston drivers and Beltway politics.
Hope to see you out here soon!
Wombat, near Peru VT 7/19/2017