The Busiest Week Ever (Part II) or, Hiking is for Lovers

This picks up the morning after my last entry…

Saturday came too fast, but Jason and I were up early and out the door by 7:30 AM, headed to New Hampshire for a hike. This week we drove deep (I think) into the White Mountains to Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliffs. It was a five mile circular hike, complete with waterfalls AND a gorgeous view. It was (seemed) a lot harder than our previous hike, mostly due to my lack of real physical activity that week and achy feet from poor shoe choices over the previous two days, but also because the trail maintenance was weak in some spots.

It was still cool though. Jason made sure to point out ALL the bird sounds that I missed on our last hike. And the falls were absolutely gorgeous. They fall about 200 feet into a small pool that quickly turns into a stony brook. There were quite a few other hikers swimming, but since Jason and I are not huge swim-and-hike folk, we just enjoyed the rest for a bit. We then continued on the trail towards the promised cliffs. The trail was actually pretty ok here – it was practically flat for a good chunk and we passed several people going the opposite way that didn’t look like they suffered too much. I was encouraged.

And then, of course, we hit a very steep rise that had me muttering “fuck you mountain,” over and over again. Jason reminded me that it wasn’t really a mountain, just part of one. And then I murdered him.

We made it to the top of the crazy steep rise, only to bump into some lovely college-aged, yoga-pants-clad girls who didn’t seem to have a drop of sweat between then. As hikers are wont to do, we said our hellos and wondered how far they had just come and still looked so clean. I heard them say that we looked fresh, which I thought meant gross, but Jason said refreshed, like I didn’t look like I just cried climbing that rise.

Finally, we made it to the highest point of the trail, which was not actually anything anymore because the trees have grown so tall that the view is obstructed. We were ok with that. We still admired what view we could make out, and noticed that the birds up there had some gorgeous songs to share. And I found cell service! (Not that I was looking for it or used it.) We soldiered on and came to Frankenstein Cliffs an easy half mile on.

The view was stunning, of course, and Jason and I took many selfies and landscape photos before tucking into some well deserved pb&j sandwiches and some Taza Chocolate (excellent for hot hikes because it does not melt easily!). After relaxing while enjoying the view and making some new chipmunk friends, we hitched our packs back on and started to head out (note: the trail was circular, so we didn’t go out the way we came).

“Ooph, that’s the hard way.” said the helpful hiker nearby that was wearing a skirt and bathing suit. “That’s why we came up that way and are going out the easier way.” We laughed and said her way was pretty rough as well – “Be careful, it gets really steep,” we said. LITTLE DID WE KNOW.

We trudged along the relatively flat/downhill trail for a while, both silently apologizing to our toes/feet for the strain. At the sound of trickling water (more so than the several small creeks we had crossed) we got excited, thinking we might be nearing some easy spots.

Alas, it was not to be so.

After crossing a kinda rough little patch – it was wet and slippery with tiny loose pebbles – guided by what I though was an old woman’s voice (“BE CAREFUL” it kept saying from the bushes), but turned out to be a teenage boy’s, as he hid in the trees, we breathed easy, assuming we hit the “tough part”. We passed on by the helpful boy and his friend and trudged on, only to come across what I am now calling THE PATH FROM HELL.

When we reached the Path from Hell, I was pretty convinced that we had actually gotten off the trail. This path was almost completely vertical and comprised of nothing but lose pebbles, loose rocks, and smooth, flat boulders. There was nothing to hold on to but dirt and more dirt, no foot holds either. I was terrified.

Jason and I basically crab crawled down the hill. At one point, Jason was also convinced that we had somehow lost the trail and made me stay where I was while he investigated. He slowly made his way to the bottom of the drop, and happily discovered that it came to an end at a long, flat path. I scurried my way down the rocks, praying that I didn’t lose my footing and tumble head first into my new husband.

[Editor’s note: Jason claims that the hill wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed at the time and we were both just tired. Or something. He is full of lies.]

Regardless of what my husband may think, I was absolutely terrified and just wanted to finish the trail once I hit that path. Alas, we had at least a mile to go. We trudged along until we came to a train trestle that passed over the trail. Turns out, both Jason and I like train trestles and both think of Stand By Me whenever we see one (I mean, who doesn’t?).

Eventually we made it back to the car in one piece, though a little worse for the wear. My legs were stiff like WHOA and I could feel the mosquito bites swelling up. There was only one answer for the ride home: ice cream.

And so we ended our hiking trip by getting some delicious ice cream at a funky little store/cafe overlooking a little lake. The perfect ending to a great day.

Oh wait, except when we arrived home two and a half hours later, THERE WAS A TURKEY BLOCKING OUR DOOR.

This may not sound scary to most of you, but for those of us who live in Brookline, we all know about the wild turkeys that terrorize the neighborhood. They usually travel in a gang, and are known for keeping people from leaving their homes. I once came across the gang while dog-walking… even the dogs were scared.

Anyway, so we arrive home to find a HUGE turkey blocking our doorway. Not sure what to do, Jason starts throwing clods of dirt at it, trying to scare it away. He finally manages to scare it onto the roof (our building is on top of a restaurant, so their roof is like a deck) and we scurry into the building. We spent the next two hours watching it from our windows. 

It finally left, after pooping and nibbling on some of our neighbor’s plants, never to be seen again. Or at least by us, that night.

And so that ends the busiest week ever. Actually no, technically I spent the last day of the week doing stuff: I baked a roasted strawberry buttermilk cake, went to book club, had a visit from a friend and watched SVU until I fell asleep. THAT was the end of the busiest week ever.

This week had potential to rival last week, but we decided to cancel a trip to the MFA so I could have a night at home and start writing thank you notes. 

Coming up: Emily & Jason meet Emily Dickinson and Emily & Jason go on a hiking double-date. STAY TUNED!



One thought on “The Busiest Week Ever (Part II) or, Hiking is for Lovers

  1. I love that there is a landmark with “Frankenstein” in its name. Amazing. That trek back would’ve given me an anxiety attack…Props for enduring that!

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