Wednesday, May 24, 2006

White Mountain Time

As another Memorial Day Weekend and Summer rapidly approach us, my memories return to many Summers past and my times in the White Mountains. Most every Summer between 1952 and the early 1970's, I spent time hiking the trails of the White Mountains, usually Mt. Washington. Many an hour was spent trucking up either Tuckerman's or Huntington's Ravine, across the Ballfield to the Summit. After watching the Tourists watch us, we'd finish the day at the Lake of the Clouds hut helping the crew of college students prepare the evening meal and falling into bed shortly after nightfall.

This started for me as early as I can remember, standing on the curb at 5am holding a flashlight while pictures were taken of my Dad and brother and friends piling into a 1949 Ford coupe for a big adventure mountain climbing. I didn't realize exactly what they were doing but I certainly knew I wanted to do whatever they were doing and just as soon as possible. Somehow through whining, sniveling and whatever else I could bring to the table they took me along in the Summer of 1952 at the ripe old age of 10. I got pushed, pulled, towed and dragged up Huntington's Ravine to the top of Mt. Washington and got to sleep at 5,000 feet plus at the Lake of the Clouds. Walking onto the summit that first time was a huge feeling of accomplishment. I was definitely hooked.

My last time up Tuckerman's was a little more than 20 years ago yet the memories are as clear as yesterday. Many friends came with us over the years who still talk about the aching muscles, muddy feet and many memories of laughing and singing our way up and down the numerous trails we covered over the years. Nearly as much as the ocean surrounding me, my love of the mountains has always remained strong and present. While I'm waiting for every boat I always take a peek westward to see if the snow's off Washington yet; fond memories indeed.


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