Mt. Avalon juts sharply into Crawford Notch, a mountain between two mountains, nestled uncomfortably between Mt. Willard’s valley overlook and Mt. Field’s majestic height.
Our mountain is only 3,442 feet, but Avalon makes demands on a hiker. If we make it, Avalon’s summit will be the highest Janelle has ever been, but she’ll have to climb a relentlessly steep half mile to get there. And there’s one more thing different about today. On this bright, clear, hot morning, my plan is to push Janelle further than she’s ever been. Once we finish with Mt. Avalon, instead of returning to the comfort of the Highland Center, we’ll turn left off our trail and push back up to Mt. Willard.
Two in one day. Six and a half miles. It’s the second day in a four-day run for us, and I don’t know how she’ll handle both the extra miles, as well as the marathon hiking. So, as we sit in the parking lot, I take a little extra time taping her feet. Strangely, this little necessity has become something of a soothing ritual for us. She can do this herself of course, but we like it this way. She enjoys the attention, and the extra ten minutes gives me a chance to gauge where her head is before we start.
But if she has any doubts about the big day ahead, she doesn’t let them show. And soon, she’s bounding up the trail ahead of me, my spider monkey, leaping up the steep rocks like she’s been doing this all her life. All I can do is follow.
Mt. Avalon (8/20/12)
Height: 3,442 feet
Location: Crawford Notch, I-93 to exit 35 to Route 3 north to Route 302 east to Highland Center.
Our trailhead: Avalon Trail (located behind Crawford Depot) up and back.
Distance: 3.6 miles round trip