“Come on, Steve, let’s see what’s here!”
Our friend Steve has joined us for our hike up Mt. Willard and Janelle is leading him into the forest. We’re at the summit, the second of the day. It was slow going getting up here, but with food in her belly and the spectacular view of Crawford Notch, Janelle is back to her old self.
Beat paths lead to various lookouts along Willard’s cliff-like summit edge, and the girl is set on exploring every one of them it seems. She’s taken to Steve and I let the two of them get ahead of me. She’s moving fast, with authority, and I’m struck by how solid her footing is becoming. She’s developing trail legs, something she’ll need in the weeks ahead as we set our sights on much longer and harder trails.
“Look, look!” she’s shouting from somewhere ahead. I come around a turn expecting the two of them to be enjoying a grand view. There is a grand view, of course, but Janelle doesn’t see it. Instead, she’s crouched down, engaged in a staring contest with a deep green grasshopper.
She looks up at us and grins, and what can one do after a smile like that? Steve and I share a knowing look and sit down to watch the girl and the insect, the views forgotten.
Mt. Willard (8/20/12)
Height: 2,865 feet
Location: Crawford Notch, I-93 to exit 35 to Route 3 north to Route 302 east to Highland Center.
Our trailhead: Avalon Trail to Mt. Willard Tail (located behind Crawford Depot) up and back.
Distance: 3.2 miles round trip