Snow on a mountaintop, overlooking a beautiful valley is romantic. Frosty, crisp ledges against deep autumn colors can be unlike any other hiking experience. But today, I’m only thinking about the cold.
We have more than seven miles to hike to our car, over two more mountains. We climb up Resolution at a steady pace, our boots crunching in the frost. When the sun is out, the day warms quickly. When it is not, the cold bites through our fleece. When we move, we are warm. When we pause for pictures or for snacks, we are not.
I’m used to the challenges of this situation. Janelle is not. To her, reaching a summit, or a overlook, is reason to stop, sip tea, perhaps explore a little. But now, our morning consists of movement. The ledges of Resolution are above 3,000 feet and packed with pines and alpine bushes, now hanging low from the night’s snow. As we push through the trail, the snow and ice rains down on us and we have to shrug off the cold with every step.
But she is a trooper, still excited from the morning’s camp duties and our peanut butter sandwich breakfast while we watched the mist move up and overtake the mountains from below. But I watch her, listening for any indication of discomfort. She marches on, carrying more weight than she’s ever hauled, her cheeks pink, her fleece hat pulled down till it touches her glasses.
“She’s fine,” Meena says from over my shoulder.
I kiss my wife, thankful for her company, and we watch together as Janelle pitches forward down the rock, solid, steady. She realizes we’ve stopped and turns to wait for us. When I catch up, she says, “You lead, Dan.”
She wants to be between us, or perhaps more accurately, she wants to be near Meena.
The two have been practicing their whistling skills all weekend and they continue now. And so we hike on, and behind me the cool mountain air is filled with whistles, one sharp and melodic, the other young and barely a whisper. I listen to them whistle, and giggle, and whistle some more and that calms me, and warms me, and my steps become light and the trail no longer seems that long.
Mt. Resolution and Mt. Parker (10/8/12)
Heights: 3,415 and 3,004 feet
Location: Bartlett area, I-93 north to Exit 32, The Kanc, to Bear Notch Road over the Saco Rover.
Our trailhead: Our trail began from the top of Stairs Mountain, Stairs spur to Davis Path to Mt. Parker Trail to Mt. Langdon Trail
Distance: 7.2 miles one way.