Yesterday was a great day.
The sun was shining with the bright and hazy heat of late summer, the sky wore infinite shades of blue, and I performed a public service.
I introduced a friend to hiking.
This is D.
D is a newly baptised hiker and fellow Milspouse. Her sweetie is where my sweetie is.
We hiked Mount Chocorua. This is pronounced “Cho-koo’-ra”, unless you are my husband, in which case it is purposely mispronounced “Choke-a-roo-ah” in order to elicit an eye roll from me.
Because this was D’s first hike, I picked a mountain that I had climbed before in the hopes that it would maximize our chances of staying on the right trail and minor things like that.
While we’re on the subject, here’s a piece of hiking advice: When you see an arrow that points to the right, like this…
…you should not immediately cross the stream directly in front of you and hike 30 feet into the woods.
At least I only went 30 feet before I realized something was wrong.
Anyway, Champney Falls Trail starts our fairly wide and flat, but trail maintenance should really consider putting the signs a little lower. And making them bigger. And maybe yellow. With blinking lights.
Hey, MilSpouses with deployed soldiers have a lot to talk about, okay? We can’t be distracted by trivial things like trail markers.
After a slight but steady climb of about a mile and a half, we came to this juncture:
Now that’s what I call a sign.
We took a left and headed another 0.3 miles to the falls.
The falls were beautiful – peaceful with the sound of rushing water and refreshingly cool.
Which was probably why I got distracted, crossed the stream again and headed off in the wrong direction. Again.
But I realized it right away! That’s got to count for something, right?
After the falls, if you go the right way, there is a steep rock staircase and the climb gets tough for another mile or so. It levels out for a bit before the trail comes out of the woods.
Those little dots covering the second peak are people. In this picture, it looks lower than the nearer peak, but it’s really not. In fact, the last 0.2 miles are a bit hairy, and not particularly well-marked. The yellow blazes had kind of faded out by then.
Excuse me, but the point of the story is that we eventually, after a couple of freaky rock scrambles, made it to the top.
The mountain in the background with all the clouds hovering over it is Mount Washington.
D and I took a nice long break for lunch and had a very pleasant chat before making our way back down. D, who is a runner, was a super trooper. We made ridiculous time on this trail. The trail description advised that you allow six hours for the roundtrip hike. We made it in five and a half, including our lunch break.
She was also excellent company. We talked about shoes and ships and deployment. I had forgotten how nice it is to have someone to talk to that is going through the same things you are.
And the best part is, I didn’t even scare her away from hiking by almost getting us lost three times! She’s hooked now, too.
I’m looking forward to trying another hike soon. Only this time maybe I’ll bring a compass. And a GPS. And…
Oh hell, I’ll just bring Denis and we’ll follow him.