In New Hampshire family hiking circles, climbing with Trish, Alex and Sage is big leagues; like tossing baskets with Michael Jordan or having Don Hall read your poetry. The trails the Herr family have blazed are legendary. You can check out their website and read about Trish’s book here: Trish, Alex and Sage. They had graciously agreed to hike with us just after getting home from a whirlwind highpointing trip where they bagged three peaks in the Southwest over 13,000 feet.
But apparently, that’s just me. Janelle doesn’t have stars in her eyes. She just sees two kids, about her age, who can climb mountains, like her. She sees peers, and girls no less!
I should have learned this lesson from her time last spring in the fitness program, Girls on the Run. Maybe it is that easy.
The three little ones barrel up the mountain like tiny locomotives, instant friends. Like usual, at first I worry. Will Janelle be able to keep up? She’s soft-spoken and intense, will Alex and Sage’s sisterly bond and outgoing manner be too much for her? Will she be fussy or have I taught her well enough to hike with far more seasoned hikers?
Will she make me look bad?
Such pedestrian concerns, so adult of me and yet so childish. After a time, my foolish worries evaporate like the morning chill, replaced by wonder. I watch her interact, hike and laugh. The adults are there when the kids trip, or need a break, or maybe some trail directions. But today Janelle doesn’t actually need me, not when Alex and Sage are there with her. Perhaps not when any kids of her age and ability would be there with her.
I swallow hard at the thought and quicken my pace just a little, unwilling to let her lose sight of me quite yet.
Mt. Shaw (10/13/12)
Height: 2,990 feet
Location: Near Moultonborough and Castle in the Clouds, I-93 to exit 23 to Route 104 east to Route 3 north to Route 25 northeast to Route 109 southeast to Route 171 east. The trailhead is unmarked but can be found on the right, just after Sodom Road.
Our trailhead: Mt. Shaw Trail up and back (with 1 mile round trip on the spur path to Black Snout Mountain).
Distance: 8 miles round trip. (Trail Confusion: The latest copy of the AMC Southern New Hampshire Guide, 2010, warns of a land dispute near the bottom of this trail and suggests taking another. That dispute must be smoothed over as the trail is wide, well used and fairly well-marked with dark red blazes. There were half a dozen cars in the parking area and a dozen or so hikers on the trail when we were there.)