Sunday, June 14, 2009

On the Big Rock Mountain

On some of the highest mountains in northern New England and in New York's Adirondacks the latitude and the altitude combine to provide an environment for alpine plants that flower in June.

Each June since moving here ten years ago, I have wanted to make my way to the Alpine Garden on the upper slopes of Mt. Washington and each June for the last ten years other things took priority.

This year, the Maine chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club offered a guided hike on the second Saturday in June for the first ten people to sign up--I signed up and on a leap of faith snagged a place for my mother on the hike, too. My mom is 75 and has had various physical ailments over the last few years but she loves flowers and when we were all younger she taught me to love the mountains--so with six weeks until the hike and with a promise from the group leader that it would be a slow and gentle meander through the garden I asked my mom if she would like to go. She jumped at the chance and has spent the last six weeks walking and getting into shape. At the last minute, Molly was able to join us, too, so yesterday we drove up the Mt. Washington auto road to a point just below the summit, parked our car and navigated a short steep section leading to the alpine garden.

We saw Diapensia everywhere. They grow in mats that spread very slowly. A misplaced footstep can wipe out 20 years worth of growth. The pathway is carefully marked with cairns and all along the slopes the ground is littered with pincushion mats of little while flowers.

When we weren't bending our necks to look at the tiny flowers on the ground, we gazed out over the beautiful mountains.

My mom at 75, my daughter at 20 and me turning 50 this year; the rare alpine plants and the magnificent beauty. What a day.

11 comments:

NCmountainwoman said...

Wonderful post and great photographs. How great to have three generations enjoying the hike.

beckie said...

Your leap of faith turned out very well. The view alone is enough to make the journey, but to see those lovely flowers -ahhhh!

KGMom said...

Oh Beth--this is so special. Cherish cherish cherish these memories.
"I will lift up my eyes to the hills..."

Joanie D. said...

How fortunate, Beth, that it was not a foggy day and you were able to see all those layers of mountains. My husband and I USED to do a lot of hiking, but he broke his legs back in 1999 falling off a porch and then I gained weight and we just haven't gotten back into it. I miss it though and hopefully we will begin again soon. We can start slowly and work up.

Jayne said...

Awwww... what a wonderful photo and an even more wonderful adventure for the three of you. I just smiled broadly through this entire post. :c)

Cindy said...

What a great story and beautiful pictures also.

Carey's Corner said...

Sounds like it was a nice ladies outing, one you can remember fondly for years to come.

Ruth said...

Good for your mother to take the hike. She is an inspiration. I love the photo of the 3 of you. It is nice that all generations can enjoy a hike and the beauty of nature.

Kathiesbirds said...

Oh Beth, how wonderful! Love the photo at the end. It's been more than 30 years since I have been on Mt. Washington. I always wanted to take my kids there. I am so glad you could take yours! (and your Mom too!)

britney said...

nice post and thanks for sharing....

___________________
Britney
Entertainment at one stop

britney said...

you have leap of faith..
___________________
Britney
Get Payday Loan in 4 easy steps