Boy, it has been one busy year! I’ve had lots going on since the very beginning, but between being busy with work, my yard maintenance, and all my weekend adventures with friends, I’ve had little time to spend in front of the computer writing. But hey, otherwise I’d have nothing of interest to share with the world.
With sweet sorrow, summer is coming to an end. Autumn is gently creeping in, and with the “summer fun funds” being rather depleted, I find myself spending more time hanging out indoors and reflecting on all that I’ve seen and done this year.
Ah, but that’s the beauty of New England – the splendor of the changing seasons. So, throughout this harvest time of year, I will attempt to catch ya’ll up on what Crystal and company have been up to – though not necessarily in proper order.
Instead I’ll start in the middle, because I’ve also sent a related side story to my Spirit Sistah, Ocean of Deaf Pagan Crossroads, which you can find here.
Well, I can’t think of any other way to say it - Crystal LOVES camping! Though admittedly it had been a few years since I’d gone. We fixed that this past 4th of July weekend as my boyfriend and I packed up his Jeep, managed to make a space for Mollie to lay down in the back, and headed north to Waterville Valley, NH. Set amidst the White Mountains, we certainly took in some beautiful and breathtaking scenery!
Our campsite at Goose Hollow Campground was right next to the Mad River, literally. Ooooh, I was so excited. To have a long weekend away to enjoy the company of my camping companions, and commune with the gods and goddesses of the mountains, rivers, and forest. How nice it would be relaxing to the sounds of the rushing river and crackling campfire. Or so I thought.
On day one as we were setting up our campsite and thinking we were going to just chill out there by the river and unwind, some dude two campsites down started playing an electric keyboard – and kept it up ALL AFTERNOON – blasting at full volume for the whole campground to hear. ARGH! I soon had a headache, and was hoping this didn’t continue all weekend. (Don’t they have a place to plug headphones into those things so that everyone around you doesn’t have to hear your practicing? Why the HELL would anyone think an electric keyboard was essential to mountain camping!)
Luckily, Mother Nature finally decided to give me a break and a passing thunderstorm put an end to the off-key concert. We were able to crash in our tent and zone out to the pitter-patter sound of raindrops on our “roof” until dinner time, when the rain stopped and we were left with the river. Aaahhh. Now THIS is more like it!
View of the Mad River from the edge of our campsite.
Night falls on Waterville Valley – how peaceful it was!
On day two, the 4th of July, we woke up to find that our air mattress had sprung a leak and we were indeed sleeping on the ground. Um, we didn’t intend to “rough it” quite that much. Oooow, my back! But grateful for small blessings, I smiled and waved goodbye as keyboard dude packed up his campsite to leave. A nice hot cup of coffee, a little stretching, a bite to eat, and I was ready for the day…kinda. We were planning a somewhat “easy hike” in the mountains. Mollie got all decked out in her patriotic bandana.
After lunch, we set off to hike a loop on Snow’s Mountain that would take us over Cascade Falls, and down along the river.
Halfway up the mountain. Whew! Keep climbing and remember that what goes up, must come down!
One of several sections of Cascade Falls. The sheer power of the falls gave me a good boost of energy, which would be much needed as the trail back down was much longer than we had anticipated. Damn, it didn’t look that far on the map!
Crossing over the river, still hiking down the mountain. This is the point where Evan said we were “almost done”.
I learned something about Evan that weekend – his definitions of “easy hike” and “almost done” are greatly different than mine!
Wiped out, we finally reached the end of the trail at the bottom and made our way back to the Jeep. But being tired and ready to exchange warm Gatorade for cold water from the cooler didn’t stop the snapshot-happy Evan.
WOULD YOU PUH-LEEZE STOP TAKING PICTURES OF US AND UNLOCK THE JEEP!!!
Kudos to Mollie, my twelve year old Lab who hiked that mountain like a dog half her age. Since there were few other hikers, Mollie was able to be off-leash to wander free and explore at her leisure for most of the trek, until we reached some treacherous terrain on the descent and we put on her harness for safety. She had plenty of water from the river, but her dinner was in that Jeep and she was hungry! (And as tuckered out as I was.)
We lacked the energy that evening to even walk down to the other end of the campground for the big 4th fireworks show. Instead, we sat back with a couple of cocktails and dried our still-damp feet by the fire. (Parts of the trail going downhill were still pretty wet and muddy from all the early-summer rain. Evan had misjudged a patch of mud. Thinking it to be solid ground, he stepped right into it, immediately sank in, and stepped out minus a shoe! He did manage to retrieve the shoe and wash it off in the river. Yup, I laughed.)
On day three, after coffee by the campfire, some breakfast, and a little end-of-weekend chatting with some of our fellow campers from nearby sites, we packed up our little home away from home. This day we would drive up over a mountain, make a few stops and take shorter hikes to several scenic spots that Evan knew of, complete with waterfalls and swimming holes for Mollie. Labs love to swim!
Mollie found several four-legged friends at the campground. But we met this little Lab, Daphnie, with her family as they stopped for a brief rest on their way by the above swimming hole – 9 weeks old and out on her first hike in the mountains. Daphnie was very happy to meet one of her own kind. Mollie wanted nothing to do with this kid, but oh she was soooo cute! Aw, come on Mollie, you were a young little ball of energy like that…once upon a time.
Aside from all the awesome scenery, in our travels that weekend we saw some local wildlife. We came across a mommy red fox with baby following close behind, a big ol’ buck just standing there in the woods watching us wander by (I swear he winked at us), a variety of butterflies, and a BIG black spider that Evan found hanging out on a rock by the water as he was admiring…
A silly salamander!
(Okay, ya got me, I just wanted to say “silly salamander”.)
A good time was had by all, but all good things must end. After driving down off the mountain and through part of the lakes region, we found a spot by Squam Lake to grill up some kabobs for dinner (and for Mollie to take one more swim in the mountains). Then it was time to pack up the Jeep one last time and head for home.
I’m good Mum, wake me up when we get home!
Unfortunately, some unforeseen circumstances caused us to cancel another camping trip in the mountains we had planned near the end of August, so this one will have to tide us over until next summer. But that’s okay – we’ve got plenty of memorable moments to last us ’til then!