Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wright Peak Family Hike 7/11/15

Jeanette has been feeling a lot better since entering her second trimester and was missing the mountains sorely. It was time to head up to the peaks! I was super excited to have my favorite hiking partner back. As a change of pace for me, we listened to.... not the Grateful Dead on the way up hahaha. Jeanette and I's favorite band is without a doubt Cloud Cult. Their brand of Indy rock infuses symphonic and electronic elements while lead singer and song writer Craig Minowa sings some of the most beautiful and spiritual lyrics I've ever heard with a starkly honest tenor. Craig's wife Connie and another artist paint while the band plays live and the paintings are auctioned off at the end of the show. The gorgeous art she creates while not on stage is for sale in her Etsy store. I gave Jeanette one of the pendants and she recently purchased a print of Love Series #5: wolves. Their albums move us deeply, as do their live performances. I've been reduced to tears twice by the raw emotional power of their live show. So we listened to their Albums "Love" (from which we used 'Meet me where You're Going' for the first dance at our wedding) and "Light Chasers" on the drive and pulled on to the Loj road inspired.

Jeanette is almost 6 months pregnant and is definitely starting to show. She (and when I'm lucky, I) get to feel our growing baby kicking and punching up a storm every day. We feel in awe of this life, this miracle. Jeanette is very fit and healthy so we knew that if we took it slow and steady, we could climb that mountain. We got on the trail at 7 in order to hike in the coolest part of the day and to miss some of the swarms of summer hikers heading up this popular trail.

I always forget how much I like the trail up the McIntyre Mountain Range. You get a nice warm up on the 0.9 mile hike to the intersection with the Marcy Dam trail and then make your way over some rolling terrain before beginning your climb in earnest. It was decently cool for July and it took a while before we took our long sleeves off. Koda took many drinks from all the streams we passed early on. I had a liter just for him once we got out of the running water zone. We leap-frogged with more and more groups as we got higher and clumped up with a bunch at the scramble with the weather warning sign. We met Wright Peak's summit steward for the day, Jen, on her way up. When we got to the intersection with the Algonquin trail, we discovered that all of the groups were heading that way. Our hopes rose at the prospect of a reasonably quiet summit. Jeanette was doing really well keeping her heart rate down and was climbing very strong.

Once on the spur trail up Wright Peak, we were in great spirits as views opened up behind us. Another view soon opened up: I split my pants. Super dramatically from the top of my fly to the base of the crotch of the pants. Jeanette took one look at the panic on my face and began hysterically laughing. Which lasted for quite some time. She offered me some medical tape to see if I could patch them at all and we were soon both laughing at the futility of that. She eventually came up with the bright idea of tying my long sleeve shirt around my wast with the trunk of the shirt across my lap. It sort of looked like a Kilt or as CoryD pointed out, a maitre D's apron. Oh boy. the long sleeve was the exact same color as the short sleeve so it kind of worked. Or at least I tell myself that. Soon the views were too amazing to care as we climbed up the rocky summit, following the cairns and yellow paint.

On the way to the top we passed two guys coming down but other than the summit steward we had the top to ourselves!!! Jeanette and I were both elated but she was super super super elated. She'd been missing the mountains so bad since her pregnancy slowed her down and to be able to climb like this while carrying a life inside her was very special. It was quiet, still morning cool and sunny with some lovely wispy clouds. Jen the summit steward was super nice and very knowledgeable. We talked about the pursuit of the 46 and she told me about some of the flowers. She also told us about the twice stabbed lady beetle which landed on Jeanette. Awesome name!!!! I explored a bit and Jeanette laid down. Though we knew this was a reasonably safe activity, she really wanted to feel the baby move for reassurance and after she rested for a few, got a few good kicks in. I got a bit obsessed with a little patch of rocked-off summit vegetation that looked like a Japanese Garden and took a bunch of photos of the peaceful scene. Not wanted to sop up all the magic we got our lives together and made our way down the mountain.

On the way down we passed roughly 100 people in varying states of preparedness. Full backpacking set ups, Vans style sneakers with no back pack at all, big dogs, little dogs and another dog named Koda. It was a hilarious 3 ring circus. There were some Rangers at the trail register and I recognized Scott Van Laer's name on his ranger shirt and introduced myself. He's written a bunch of awesome articles (often about his pet project, Adirondack plane crashes) and is very helpful on the high peaks forum. It was really nice to meet him. We packed the dog into the car and drank some Gatorade we had saved which tasted like heaven. We stopped at Cedar Run Bakery in Keene for some yummy grab and go sandwiches for the ride home. Always a great stop! Jeanette and Koda both feel asleep by exit 29 and I enjoyed some peaceful music and reflected on a truly unforgettable day in the woods with my amazing wife, ridiculous dog and our soon to be baby!

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