Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Visiting The Mountain Tops

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world and am free.

Wendell Berry
I don't remember if I wrote about my hike across the Moat Mountain Range. I may have, I probably did, but so what, it's time to revisit the memory. The Moats, North Moat, Middle Moat and South Moat, are part of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. These are small mountains comparatively. No Mt. Everests here. There are taller mountains around but the Moats is a range by itself. So one Autumn, on a day off, I decided to do the whole range.

I parked my car on a back road at the base of South Moat, rode my bicycle to the base of North Moat and hid it in the woods. The trail up North Moat was steep and relentless. It was a difficult climb through the forest and when I finally came out above the timber line I was exhausted.

I sat to rest and considered turning back, The view was breath taking but when I looked up behind me all I could see was rock. Considering how I felt I thought summating would be too hard for me. But I also recalled other climbs when at the point I wanted to quit I was much closer to the top than I thought I was. So I got up and continued on and it was, indeed, another 15 minutes or so and I was on the summit.

The top of North Moat is small compared to other summits, but I felt I was on the top of the world. I stayed briefly to enjoy the view then headed down to the ledge toward Middle Moat. On the way I was hit with a great fright. I had startled a grouse who came flapping out of the bushes with a terrifying noise. Once I saw what it was I recovered and kept going. Also along that ridge there are a few scary places that require some mountain climbing experience. I managed them and got at last to Middle Moat.

Middle Moat is the shortest of the three but the timber line is quite close to the base, so it makes for a wide open few of sky. I stayed there for awhile and took in the sight.

The hike to south Moat was fairly easy and without event. When I got there I found a wide summit with a dirt floor, green things growing and rocks jutting out. When I looked down from there I saw the tower of the radio station I worked for looking like a tiny colored toothpick stuck in the ground, the winding string of the road I traveled every day to get to work and my community, small dots of shops and houses.

I sat with my back against a slab of rock, had my sandwich and my banana and thought, "I never want to leave this place. Right here, on the top of this graceful mountain, is where I want to live, forever."

But I had to be at work the next day. I was the morning DJ at that same radio station and was responsible for waking people up, giving them the news of the day and getting them going. Besides it would soon be night and I wasn't prepared for it. So I started down and, in fact, darkness came when I was a few hundred feet from my car. When I got in the car I checked the time. The hike took 9 hours.

When I got to work in the morning, I told everyone about my day on the Moats. My boss was fascinated. Who knows, I may write about it again sometime. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)

In your opinion what is the most amazing thing that could happen during this decade? Make it as outrageous as you want but keep it within the realm of what you consider a possibility.

12 responses so far.

Answers will be published the first day of Summer.

Thank you.

DB - The Vagabond


Liz said...

The mountains we climb will always improve the view we have of the world and our own strength.
The highest mountain out there is not Mt Everest.
It seems to me that you have obtained a very good view of the world.
Perhaps now is the time to look into the still water and see your own reflection framed by that mountain and behind you the silent stars waiting …

Maria said...

Hi, DB! The way you described this hike made me want to go and check it out right now! I love views from on high. They are always so uplifting. Your description was so poetic. Thank-you. Your memory of the place is a good one to draw upon for times of stress! Smiles to you! Maria

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Sometimes the side trips provide the best memories.