Did I forget to update? Having a job sure does take time. I did manage to get to the mountains just before I started my new, old job. Sandy and I did Cascade a week or two after my failed attempt. It was great! What a crowded mountain. If you want a solitary experience in the high peaks don’t do Cascade. It was the beginning of summer vacation and we must have been passed by 50 campers. There were lots of other folks, too. We were going to catch Porter because my knee was doing OK but we blew by the trail and once we realized our error, Sandy wasn’t turning back. I did catch a nice picture of Owls Head, the mountain bump that Bob and I climbed as a consolation for my bad knee bumping me off the Cascade trip. One week I’m taking a picture of Cascade from Owls Head, the next I’m doing the opposite. Life is unpredictable.
Just a couple of weeks later I had the opportunity to climb 2 peaks in one day. Helen and Margie and I drove up, stayed in a motel and climbed Dial and Nippletop the next day. That was 12 hours, I think. Going up is never a problem for me. Well, not a real problem other than wondering why I want to work so hard to have fun. We caught some glorious views on a beautiful day. The Dial peak has an intimate view of the Great Range, like close neighbors. It is a one side of the mountain view, like a picture window. Nippletop is more removed from the Great Range and looks over streams, mires, hills and haze. The close up view looks down on two more high peaks. This is one tall mountain. It was very crowded with just about 20 people when we arrived, not a big open peak. They all left shortly after we arrived, although I doubt we smelled worse than they did. We hung out for lunch and a nice siesta once we had the place to ourselves.
The trip down was awfully painful. My knee couldn’t bend without screaming, so it was “down with the bad” the whole way. This is not 50% slower, I think it is 65% slower than a normal descent. Right leg down, meet it with the good leg, right leg down, meet it with the left. The long drops weren’t bad but the rocky spots where you just have to figure it out….. well, my companions were worried we might not get out before dark so they wouldn’t let me tarry along the beautiful Ausable. But, we made it out 2 hours before dark.
Would I do it again? I think I’m stupid enough. The views are so worth the effort.
I should mention I got to dip in a mountain stream in the ‘Gunks during the ReLeaf conference. Cool, fresh water. It made up for the forced march past the many pools along the Ausable. None of my conference colleagues saw me slip out of my clothes and disappear behind the rocks.