Sunday, September 20, 2009
So, I turned 50.
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.