The promise of views is often the fuel that propels us up a difficult pitch or gives us the incentive to navigate a tough stream crossing or muddy bog.
Today is not one of those days.
We are only a mile up the Percy Peaks Trail and Tough Cookie is faltering. It’s day 4 in a row for us, Labor Day, and we have pushed hard this past weekend. We’re on our final climb, North Percy, one of the most beautiful on our list, but we’re both beat.
Janelle is having a hard time shaking the images out of her head of all her friends playing at home, enjoying this day off from school. But unlike Mt. Martha last month, there’s no tears and no drama. She just drags, and that at least is progress. I’m proud that she forges on, that she understands that this hike, this time, is about mental discipline and determination. Someday, she may need to rely on those traits in real life.
But, despite our tired legs, we fight back. We make up a head game called what I’d rather be doing. I start.
“I’d rather be eating a popsicle than hiking!” I proclaim. Then, we hike for ten minutes while she thinks of something to add.
After the allotted time, she shouts, “I’d rather be eating a popsicle and hanging out with my friends than hiking!”
And so it goes. We wind up this beautiful and steep mountain, past the enormous moss-covered rock slabs, past the thick pine overgrowth, onto the rich ridge and finally up into the azure sky; our legs becoming strong, our hearts pounding in our ears, together.
All the while, we proclaim our deepest desires to be someplace else.
North Percy Peak (9/3/12)
Height: 3,430 feet
Location: Near Stark, I-93 to exit 35 to Route 3 north to Groveton to Route 110 east to Emerson Road to Nash Stream Road.
Our trailhead: Percy Peaks Trail (Warning: Nash Stream Road may be closed in winter.)
Distance: 4.4 miles round trip.