(Edit note: This week, I thought we’d fill in some narrative holes. It occurred to me that we have no record here of our first two hikes. So, today, we’ll present a vignette from our first 52’er, Mt. Kearsarge. On Thursday, we’ll complete the list with a story from Welch-Dickey. Hope you enjoy going back in time this week.)
On a cold but cloudless November day, Janelle and I take our first steps toward Mt. Kearsarge and toward a journey that will ultimately change both our lives, though we don’t know this yet.
I walk up the road with this child, pointing out late-season chipmunks, trying to gauge how easily, or not, she gets cold. I have no clue how this is done. I have no clue who Janelle is.
She is eager, and strong. That much I know from the few small hikes we’ve taken prior to this big one. And she does not complain easily.
I’ve never hiked a serious mountain with a child before. Alone. So, I’ve loaded my backpack with so much emergency gear, it feels like we could be out in the woods for weeks.
There’s a road walk to the trailhead first, only about a mile, but she begins asking me when we’ll get there about half way up. I wonder if this is going to work. I’ve heard horror stories from other parent hikers about the difficulties of getting their kids on the trails, away from the electronics, willingly into the wilderness.
“Is this the trail?” she wants to know. “Are we hiking?”
I wonder which way this is going to go.
Height: 2,930 feet
Location: Wilmot. I-93 to I-89 to exit 10 to Kearsarge Valley Road to Kearsarge Mountain Road.
Our trailhead: The Winslow Trail, up and back. (Warning: Assume Kearsarge Mountain Road will be closed sometime by mid-October, in which case add a 2-mile round trip road walk to your journey.)
Distance: 4.2 miles round trip, including the road walk.