Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Mountain of Grace

It was a sunny February day. The guidebook said the 1.5-mile climb from trailhead to summit, “should take about an hour, depending on how many times you pause for a rest.” (This blog post should take 2.5 minutes to read, depending on how many times you start daydreaming). Our three mile hike took four and a half hours, they don’t call me dawdler for nothing!

I can’t take all the credit though. Two external forces helped cool my heels: the snow and the child. Though we didn’t have any of the appropriate accouterments strapped to our feet, I have to give the lion's share of the credit to the kid. Nobody can dawdle like a child.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Elves & Etiquette: AT Section 2 Part 2

We made it! Behind schedule and one car abandoned, but nothing could dampen our good cheer except perhaps two heavy backpacks and one steep incline. We crossed the road and found the sacred white trail blazes. Good-bye parking lot near Lee, MA. We were northward bound. Unlike the moderate beginning of our first expedition, this section was straight up.

I could only regard myself with disbelief. Had I only hours ago been bopping down the highway with a cup of tea and a gleeful smile on my face? What had I been looking forward to? I knew damn well my pack weighed a zillion pounds. What was I thinking? Volunteering for such torture is the definition of stupidity. I adjusted my pack. “It’s too soon to be adjusting the pack,” I told myself, “we haven’t even been hiking for ten minutes.”

I closed my eyes for a second then forced myself to watch only the back of Tara’s heels as she ascended in front of me. I felt the tug of Tara’s car and magnetism to, of all things, a parking lot. I ignored these but only because I am prideful. If Tara wasn’t going to crack in the first quarter mile, neither was I.

I have since come to recognize this as basic Newtonian physics.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Food, Sex & Extreme Single-Tasking

I’ve been thinking about moths nonstop since I fell head over heels for Henrietta. She was, after all, my first American Dagger Moth. Since our short but highly anthropomorphized tryst I’ve been plagued with emotion. I’ve pined, wondered, what-ifed and yes, I’ve even dabbled in jealousy.

Henrietta is pupating right now. Snug in some stump, wrapped in a cocoon of larval hair, silk and leaf bits, she lies in wait for spring. Soon my beloved sunny caterpillar will be a creature of the night.

Somewhere in my childhood I learned that butterflies and moths couldn’t eat. They didn’t even have mouths. They just flew around trying to mate before dying. The search for love before death appealed to my streak of romantic fatalism. Yet I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the poor creatures. What if they got really thirsty before they found their mate? Was their flight through the damp night one of a wanderer in the desert?

I was all for dying in the pursuit of love but the idea of no mouth was unsettling. Not anymore

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Gremlins: Nibbling The AT Section 2 Part 1

Nothing beats setting out on an adventure. It was 8am on a mid-May Saturday and I was headed to the AT for a second dose, Lee to Cheshire MA. It was all part of my master plan to hike the 2,134 mile trail, nibble by nibble. I was unreasonably happy considering the ungodly hour. My cup of tea steamed merrily. Illuminating things were discussed on NPR and I hummed down the road in my old Mercedes, enraptured and smiling, completely unaware of the gremlins.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blog Spotted

On Thursday January 21st 2010, the Hampshire Gazette ran it's second ever "blog spotter" and highlighted The Sunday Hiker. Thank you Phoebe Mitchell for the excellent synopsis and enthusiastic review! The spotter is so new they don't have it online yet. I've scanned the paper version to post here. Click the image above to enlarge. Enjoy!