Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mountain Trails



So, I turned 50.

It happens.

Others have done it and lived to tell the tale. Maybe it's no big deal, maybe it is--I guess that's something I'll have to think about. But whatever it is, it is a round number and round numbers provide an opportunity for sizing things up. So, size it up I will and I think it's ok. Life is full and beautiful and everything that my young self would have hoped for. No regrets.

But enough about age, let's go hiking.

After a miserable New England summer full of rain and cold temperatures, fall is turning out to be pretty darn perfect.

At one point, early in the season before the rain and before the super duper vacation, I had thought that maybe I would finish climbing all of the New England 4000 footers by the time I turned 50. That plan was de-railed by early July but I kept hiking whenever good weather and opportunity collided.

The hike to Bondcliff Mountain in New Hampshire was the one that I had the most trouble visualizing. There is no easy way to get to Bondcliff--it is in the middle of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and requires a long hike into the wilderness just to get to the mountain trail.

We finally settled on heading into the Wilderness on a Saturday afternoon with a tent and sleeping bags and camping 5 or 6 miles in, leaving our gear in the woods and summiting on Sunday with just day packs then returning to our big packs and hiking out Sunday afternoon. The plan worked like a charm--mainly because Charlie didn't mind carrying all the heavy stuff. Anyway, we hiked in and put our tent up in the woods off the trail, ate supper, went to sleep and woke up to head up the mountain that I had dreamed of the most.

When I first started hiking the mountains, I read every book that I could get my hands on and invariably the authors would talk about Bondcliff. It was at the top of almost everyone's list of favorite mountains and its inaccessibility added to its allure. So for the last four years, I have been wondering how and when I would experience it--the conditions had to be perfect for this most anticipated of mountains and on our weekend, they were. It was just incredible--like being on an island in the middle of a sea of mountains. A flat topped mountain with sheer cliffs dropping into the Pemigewasset.

We spent time on the top taking pictures of the views and each other then we hiked out retriving our heavy gear along the way. With Bondcliff under my belt I only have one more New Hampshire 4000 footer on the list. There are still more in Vermont and Maine to check off but I should complete the 48 peaks in New Hampshire this month.


11 comments:

Jayne said...

Oh my friend... you SO inspire me to be more, do more, live more. Fifty never looked so good. :c)

Ruth said...

Welcome to the other side of fifty! It isn't so bad. We too are having beautiful fall weather after a cold, wet summer.

beckie said...

Beth, raeching those milestone birthdays does give one cause to ponder. :) I reached one this past week and am having quite a time with it. Most days I feel and think of myself as young(when I don't look in the mirror!)I think I am going to adopt the adage that 50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 50!

Your goals and achievements are admirable. Maybe one trick to staying young is to keep setting goals.

KGMom said...

First, happy birthday on turning 50--it's an accomplishment that not everyone is gifted to receive.
Second, oooo--that one photo of you on the flat top makes my toes curl. I am hanging on to dear earth for dear life.

rach :) said...

Glad you're getting closer and closer to reaching your goal. And as I approach a major age milestone myself, it's good to be reminded that it's really just about the goals we set and not the number itself.

Kathiesbirds said...

Beth, how wonderful! I can't even imagine getting to do something so spectacular! It has been so long since I have camped or hiked that far that I fear I couldn't so either. You inspire me to greater things! I wish I lived near you! You are my hero! Happy 50th!

beth said...

oh that 50....it's just around the corner for me and I hope I can have your positive attitude....

the hiking....not sure about that...maybe just a walk through the woods though would work for me....

Cindy said...

Congratulations and Happy Birthday. What a beautiful site/picture. Seems like you're really having fun.

NCmountainwoman said...

Happy Birthday! What a great way to celebrate.

The good thing about turning 50 is there are no more milestones until you hit 65!

Harriet the Spy said...

Happy birthday! I turned 50 about six months ago, and while I'm not quite as active as you, I think I'm doing OK!

bookbabie said...

Happy birthday Beth, you've caught up with me now!