Mount Willey & Field

willey10The last weekend in May, we set out to bag three more 4000 footers. The plan was to hike Mount Willey, Field and Tom, all part of the Crawford Notch section of the White Mountains. It may have been overly ambitious so soon into the hiking season, but we felt confident going in. willey9

The GPS took us to the Willey House Site, which wasn’t exactly where we wanted to go, but which was home to one of the trailheads that would lead us to Mount Willey. The most strenuous, direct way up. In fact, it’s suggested that if you take this way up, that you get dropped off at the trailhead after parking at the other end, as there was no loop to this hike. After hiking over the mountains one way, you’d have to hike them all again the other way to get back to your car without a drop. Whoops.

willey11So we took the Kedron Flume Trail, which wasn’t too horrible. The flume itself was neat, a stream of water that disappeared over the side of the mountain. We then hiked the Ethan Brook Trail the rest of the way up Mount Willey, which I thought was brutal. Most trails get steep the last half mile or so to the top. This one was crazy steep for an entire mile. There was a series of ten or so ladders on one area of the trail that you had to take to ascend the trail, sometimes over bald, smooth, vertical rock face. willey8I couldn’t see exactly how many ladders were in the series from the bottom, and it was much too perilous to stop in the middle for a picture, but by the end I felt like I had climbed up a twenty story building. And the trail just kept going up. After pretending to be in a movie (visions of the Chinese temple from the last Karate Kid came to mind), after pretending to be in an episode of Night Gallery or the Twilight Zone where I was caught on a trail that would never end, after telling myself that I was a machine and I had this, I was still climbing up with no end in sight. My patience, my temper, and my sanity were in short supply.

willey1And then we reached the tiny outlook that would provide the only view to reward us for our efforts. Next we reached the stone cairn that marked the wooded summit of Mount Willey. We grabbed a quick bite and then continued on towards Mount Field, as the day was growing old and there was no time to waste.
willey7It took almost an entire hour to reach Mount Field. At a slightly shorter distance than that to Mount Tom, I was worried. At the rate we were going, we wouldn’t be done and off the mountain until after dark. And due to the strenuous nature of the hike, I knew I couldn’t maintain our current speed.

willey2I fed the birds on top of Mount Field as I pondered the situation, their creepy strong talons twisting around my fingers with indian burn force as they ripped the food from my hands. For some strange reason, maybe the novelty of it, I kept subjecting myself to the experience. And then I heard the most beautiful thing ever – my husband’s voice suggesting that, due to the time, the weather, and the two pups who would be waiting at home for their dinner, that we climb Tom another day. The only thing that could have made me happier was already being down the mountain.

willey3It was an arduous (for me) trek back to Mount Willey. Somehow, with ankles wobbling and knees knocking, I got safely down the mountain with only one mishap – I paused for a moment, and the lack of momentum caused me to tip straight over to the side. I caught myself before falling and remained in a weird yoga stretch for a minute while I gathered the strength to right myself. I’m known for doing all my own stunts. I’m working on knowing exactly what stunt I’m going to do before it’s actually done. It’s a skill in progress.

Adopting an, “I’m NOT a little teapot,” matra, I continued to stumble down the mountain, listening to the cars pass on the road far below while knowing – KNOWING – that there was a willeypizza traveling in one of them. Several (seemingly endless) hours later, we were once again at the trailhead where our journey began. So while we ended the hike without conquering the three peaks we had set out  to climb, we did bag two, which should have earned me a pizza, but it didn’t. I got to go home and cook dinner instead. (Maybe I should have toughed it out to the third summit after all.)

Wild Ponies

Tempest & Sullivan  They come racing full speed ahead to greet me, their furry little bodies bouncing off each other as they vie for the lead. Rearing as they nip and paw at each other for the right to welcome me first. Sliding to a halt in front of me, nuzzling my hands, demanding the attention they deserve. My pups are wild ponies.

My little ponies constantly race around the house frolicking, wrestling, teasing each other with toys. I love when I’m down in the basement and I can hear their thundering stampede dashing about overhead like a herd of wild oxen. Or when I take them hiking and they dart about like little wolves, sniffing, searching, stalking down their prey.Tempest Smiling

Tempest and Sullivan are the sweetest Terrier Terrorists you’ll ever meet. A combined 50 pounds of nub wagging, wiggling joy. Sometimes they’re just plain savage with their over exuberant affection and insatiable demands for attention. They’ll lick your skin raw if you let them.

Sully Posing

Puppy love is not always easy. They’re a big responsibility, and, like children, you have to put them and their needs first. There are days when their needs and demands are overwhelming. Times when you’d like to go somewhere or do something, but you can’t because you have to get home and walk the pups, or you can’t leave them home along that long. But they do make life better, happier, and at times even easier.

Both Tempest and Sullivan are rescue pups. Tempe is a tall, wild haired Jack Russell with the characteristic terrier personality – complete with the big attitude and intelligence. Sully is a…..special blend. Very sweet, good-natured and agreeable. Knowing a dog’s breed can be important in educating the owner about potential health (and behavioral) issues, so I had his DNA tested. My little man is half Schnauzer, quarter bull-dog, and 1/8 both Dachshund and Pomeranian. But they’re both 100% adorable.

Love Puppies

I’m a huge advocate of adoption. There are shelters all across the country teeming with animals waiting for a good home. Large and small, young and old, pure breeds and mixes…..there’s a perfect match out there for every one if you take the time to look. And I hope you do.

Pups in a Florida Garden