A vigorous young couple sets out on a journey of self-discovery and a weekend in the White Mountains. Little do they know that tragedy lay ahead. Obviously, just look at their faces, folks...At first, the way seems clear and the sun is shining. Birds chirp, branches sway, and the cares of life flow away with the water over the moss covered rocks. The trail is level and smooth, and their muscles twitch with anticipation of every step ahead.
But as in all stories, the trail doesn't stay smooth for very long... after an abrupt left turn, their way begins to lead up, up and up again. The ground is no longer friendly, but now large rocks dot the path, making it difficult to walk unhindered. Every step must be chosen correctly, for to turn an ankle would almost certainly end in cannibalism.Yet still, our intrepid travelers had high spirits, relishing every rise in elevation, anxious to behold the scenic view that would be payday for all their hard work. Difficulty defines their trip now, when each step rises more than it moves forward. The rocks are boulders now, large enough to climb, and a fall could mean broken bones, or even worse, embarrassment.
All this just fuels their desire to climb, their bodies yearning for tomorrow's soreness, the evidence of the epic struggle with nature today. Every cut and bruise, every pained breath quickens the senses and the mountain air drives them onward. Do you see the happy pain? Look closer... closer...
At last, after hours of climbing, they conquer Flume Mountain, its panorama a delight to the giggly children inside them. Still they know they must continue on, for one more crest and the steep descent to camp lie yet ahead.
Yes, even heroes need a break... for mashed potatoes and 14 hours of sleep are a magical combination.
The next morning, our travelers rise with the dawn and embark on day two, stiff but hopeful of what the day holds. From time to time, they arrive at crossroads, and must choose the right of the left. And it is not always the road less travelled that makes all the difference. Sometimes, there is just a good reason why it is less travelled...
At first, the trail climbs steadily, promising trials similar to yesterday. But then suddenly, the path evens out and the quiet smell of Christmas wafts through the air. Flat trail makes them want to run, and day two finds hiker and pack melded together to form an unstoppable traveling machine, ready to take on anything.
It is now that all their hard work begins to pay off. When the crest of Little Haystack is finally reached, they are an island in a sea of fog. Mystery shrouds the valley below, and even their own B.O. is lost in the smell of accomplishment.
When on top of a beautiful mountain with a beautiful woman, even the most insecure man forgets he is wearing spandex leggings and can pose without shame.
The Object of all their hard work and toil is now in their sight: Franconia Ridge, 1.8 miles of totally exposed ridge high above the surrounding wilderness. Strangely, it's an experience that makes a fellow wish he'd packed his kilt after all, for this of all places, would be the place to wear it.However small or large one's wife may be, it is nearly impossible to distinguish her from a rock when at the proper distance:
It is at this crucial point our story takes a fateful turn, for I remind you that this story is a tragedy after all...
because here the camera died.
Getting Ethan #17
6 hours ago