Connected on Monadnock, or Alone on the Mountain with Everyone

The summit of Mt. Monadnock is awash in humanity! We loved it!

The summit of Mt. Monadnock is awash in humanity! We loved it!

“We’re connected to these people,” I tell Tough Cookie. “All of us, right here, connected to everybody who came before and everybody that will come tomorrow.”

We’re sitting atop Mt. Monadnock on Columbus Day weekend and the most popular mountain in North America is living up to its mythology. There must be two hundred people at or around the summit. Tourists. Boston day-trippers. Tons of kids. Some are freezing in the October wind. Some are miserable and complain loudly. Some are taking pictures of the glorious foliage.

Some, like myself and the girl, just lean back in the sun, sip tea and people watch.

Janelle gives me one of her looks that says she’s not quite dismissing me and my philosophical fancies, but I better back it up quick or she’s walking away.

“Here, look at this carving.” Someone in 1920 carved their name in the rock. Rock graffiti like this is all over Monadnock, some of it over a hundred years old. “This guy sat right here, right where we are, nearly a hundred years ago, and saw and felt the same things we are today.”

She runs her fingers over the date in the rock. “And maybe he brought his kids up, just like I brought you up,” I continue on a roll. “And maybe someday you’ll bring your kids up.”

She perks up. “And we’ll bring your new baby up too!”

“Exactly! The past, the now, the future, we’re all connected, through nature, through this mountain.”

Tough Cookie begins the final climb to the summit.

Tough Cookie begins the final climb to the summit.

We sit for a while longer, watching the people. I felt awful at first, when we popped out of tree line and saw the huge pack of humanity at the summit. But I feel better now. This is nice, all these people – some unprepared, yes – but still we’re all here on this brilliant fall day connected in our pursuit of something bigger than us. Connected by Monadnock.

“My aunt climbed this mountain,” Janelle says. “And her friend.”

And for the next half hour we eat our PB&Js and chocolate chip cookies and play a game where we list all the people we know who have climbed this mountain; it’s a long, long list.

“Everyone climbs Monadnock,” she finally says settling our conversation.

A hundred years ago, John Muir mused that “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…”

I think Muir would appreciate the crowd at the top of Monadnock, and be amused to realize how connected to him we are as well.

Tough "Rooster" Cookie surveys her hiking comrades from the summit.

Tough “Rooster” Cookie surveys her hiking comrades from the summit.

Categories: New England Hikes | 4 Comments

Welcome new friends, we hope you enjoyed Windows to the Wild and join us on our adventure!

An amazing day today, for many reasons. But here's the main one: tonight's repeat of Windows to the Wild crashed my phone in the outpouring of well wishes, book requests and support. I'll work on saying thank you to everyone in the days ahead. Tonight, I'll say thank you to my muse. Want to go Spider Monkey, this amazing adventure has been one of my life's joys!

An amazing day today, for many reasons. But here’s the main one: tonight’s repeat of Windows to the Wild crashed my phone in the outpouring of well wishes, book requests and support. If you enjoyed the show, please join us on Facebook, Twitter or here for more pics, info and upcoming hikes! I’ll work on saying thank you to everyone in the days ahead. Tonight, I’ll say thank you to my muse. Way to go Spider Monkey, this amazing adventure has been one of my life’s joys!

Categories: Press and Promotion | Leave a comment

New teaser for our Windows to the Wild show is out, and we’re only two days away from broadcast!

NHPTV photographer Joe Klementovich captured this monent atop Mt. Magalloway, during our hike with WIllem Lange.

NHPTV photographer Joe Klementovich captured this m atop Mt. Magalloway, during our hike with Willem Lange.

Just a quick note to start the week and remind our friends and fans that we’re only two days away from our appearance on Windows to the Wild with Willem Lange. Here’s a link to the teaser of the episode, which will appear on Wednesday, October 8 at 7:30pm on NHPTV. We can’t wait!

Click here for the teaser: Buffalo and Tough Cookie with Willem Lange

Categories: Press and Promotion | Leave a comment

Adventure is what we make it

Tough Cookie getting ready for her new adventure , being a big sister.

Tough Cookie in the nursery getting ready for her new adventure , being a big sister.

And just like that, we find ourselves celebrating the changing colors of the leaves. Tough Cookie and I have certainly come a long way, and now as the summer segues to autumn, and school work piles up, we find our roles and ambitions changing as well. The long days on the trail have made Janelle tougher and stronger. She’s joined her Cross Country Team at school, and has worked hard to fulfill her pronouncement to me earlier this year, that in 2014, she will run. Well, indeed she has.

This has meant less time on the mountains and more time for me, on the sidelines. Watching. Being proud. But, I’m ok with that.

This month will be the final round of presentations for Buffalo and Tough Cookie until 2015. And that’s been quite a journey for us as well. We’ll finish off the year with three big events, Pembroke, New Boston and Statham. Check the events listing above for your last chance to see us for a while. And don’t forget that we’ll appear on Windows to the Wild on NHPTV, next week, Wed., Oct. 8 at 7:30pm

But everything has a reason. And ours is simple. Janelle is working hard at school, and running. And I am getting ready for my own, next, enormous, challenging and wonderful, adventure. In December, we’ll welcome a new hiker into our odd, misfit family. And the twins have stepped up to the task of being older “siblings” to their coming “sister”

This journey has provided lessons too numerous to list at this point, but the one we all keep going back to is the most obvious, and the most difficult: Your family is the people who you love, and who love you back. So, this last weekend, we gathered with our family (they are our FAMILY, I don’t bother putting the word in quotes any more), to clean, paint and decorate the new nursery, and I could not have been any happier, or lost in wonder, then if I had stepped onto a mountain summit.

Aaron has already begun thinking about what instrument to teach the baby. And Janelle, well, I think it’s clear that it won’t be long before that little one is stepping up onto her own mountain summit, perhaps on Janelle’s back. We gather together. We learn and celebrate each other. Life itself is an adventure. Onward!

Categories: Updates and Plans | 1 Comment

Date set for the Windows to the Wild broadcast!

Well friends, as you can see by the new picture in our header, we’re excited about the upcoming broadcast of the Windows to the Wild show featuring Buffalo and Tough Cookie! The air date is, drum roll please, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014 at 7:30pm on New Hampshire Public Television. We even already have a blurb on their site, check it out: An Unusual Hiking Duo

I’ll post more as the time draws near, but until then, here’s one of my favorite shots from the hike. Big thanks for the pics to Joe Klementovich. Our banner and the pic below is © Joe Klementovich for New Hampshire Public Television.

Guess who was the center of attention all day long?

Guess who was the center of attention all day long?

Categories: Press and Promotion | 1 Comment

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