At the summit of Sandwich Dome we meet our very first Park Ranger, a kind and enthusiastic young woman named Dylan. Her job for the day has been checking on the expansion of campsites on the ridge to determine erosion and if the use is harming the beautiful Sandwich Dome ridge.
She’s excited to see a ten-year-old up here, and I’m impressed by her engagement, maintaining a level of enthusiasm while at the same time checking to see how Janelle’s feeling, where we’re heading, what sort of food we have.
“I just finished some awesome lentil soup,” she says to Janelle. “What are you eating for lunch?” That sort of thing.
When she learns this is peak number 26 for Janelle, half way through the list, her eyes get wide. “That’s so great, congrats,” she says.
I take a picture of her with Janelle, and wonder if perhaps my hiking partner is just a younger version of this ranger. Tough Cookie certainly has the interest and mind-set for a life in the woods, but really, I haven’t a clue. On an earlier hike, Janelle mentioned that she wanted to be a dentist. That would be fine as well.
So for now, we are half way through this journey, still strong, still moving forward, still excited about what’s around the next corner. And now that autumn is upon us, a different sort of forest awaits. But we will march on, figuring out each other as much as exploring these mountains, and watch the leaves turn color and feel the air become brisk.
Half way there friends. Thank you so much for your support and kind words. Hike on!
Jennings Peak and Sandwich Dome (9/15/12)
Heights: 3,460 & 3,980 feet
Location: Waterville Valley, I-93 north to Exit 28 to Route 49 toward Waterville Valley.
Our trailhead: Sandwich Mountain Trail with side trip to Jennings Spur, return trip down Drake’s Brook Trail.
Distance: 8.5 miles round trip.