Happy mountain time

Last weekend, almost the whole brigade— H, A, sweet B, Jasper the Wonderdog, and I — wandered up  Mt. Waumbek, the third-lowest of the 48 New Hampshire 4,000-footers, at 4,006 feet. It’s an inclined walk in the woods, with little of the rock-scrambling so common in the Whites. A great day for B to have a real go at a mountain. She walked a good bit of the 3.6-mile ascent, defaulting to the Kelty on daddy’s back when she needed a break. She maintained high spirits until she conked out after lunch at the summit and slept for most of the ride down.

 It was very hot, very humid, and, with the entire crew, a long round-trip from Concord (almost two hours each way up and back, a little over six hours on the trail). Even the very fit H and A were fatigued by the time we got back to the car. I was several notches beyond fatigued, lost a borrowed water bottle, broke a strap on my not-great old Stratos 32, and even with a jar-opener couldn’t unscrew and collapse my walking poles. (The trick: two jar openers!)

None of that mattered. It was spectacular to be out together, laughing and playing with B, and watching her lead out, marching uphill and turning to us every few seconds to say, “I take you right to the top of the mountain.”

I still feel like a silly ass, checking off mountains, but It’s one of those geriatric compulsions and I’m committed now, with only 10 to go. An overnight Bonds traverse in a few weeks with with H and A (north-south, over the Twins, reasonable Google Earth Illustration here) will let me tick off four more summits. I may get one or two more later in the fall, but completion will probably have to wait until 2012.

After all, it’s the Pyrenees in September!

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