Be joyful even though you have considered all the facts...practice resurrection. -Wendell Berry

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Guest post from Lindsey::Mt Mansfield Adventure

We've always been a fairly outdoorsy family; Mom and Dad always encouraged us to play outside and generously sent us to overnight camp in Vermont every summer to get grubby, make friends, and learn some independence and "personal responsibility" (which was great, by the way). In my first summer there as a wee 11-year old, I climbed Killington (the second tallest mountain in VT), Pico, and Shrewsbury - three local mountains - in a day. Not sure I could ever do that now, but years later, the desire to hike outside and see beautiful views is still with me. Lucky for me, Dad is also up for the challenge! Last year we hiked up Camel's Hump (the third tallest mountain in VT) on a beautiful September day and saw the fall foliage in all its glory from an elevation just over 4,000 ft. This past Saturday, after a year of anticipation, we journeyed up Mt. Mansfield - the tallest mountain in Vermont at just under 4,400 ft.
We started up the Hasleton Trail on the south eastern side of the mountain with lots of snacks and layers (man would I be glad I had those when we got to the summit!). Dad had been stair-climbing for weeks to prepare and I have to say I was envying his strength as my "training" consisted of a cavalier attitude.

Once we reached the Visitor's Center at about 4,000 ft we had surrendered to the fact that the clouds would be with us all day and we needed those turkey sandwiches and local carrots. After a nice chat with the summit caretakers about all the outdoor ed places we had all worked and people we knew in common, we pressed on along the ridgeline from the "nose" to the "chin" (people say the mountain is like the profile of a man's head). At this point we were in in the alpine tundra zone, where tiny plants have to work very hard to get established and grow. The plants were beautiful, and so was the rock we were scrambling over with nice blustery, wet, winds that nearly toppled me off the ridge more than once. To give you a sense of temperatures up there, I had four layers on my top, two on my bottom, and a wool hat! Sadly we had no views while we were up there, but reaching the summit was a point of pride for us both.

We stayed long enough to snap a photo before heading down the Long Trail down the north eastern side of the mountain. Soon enough we were down below tree line again and out of the fierce wind exposure, but the way down was harder than the way up, as the clouds had left a nice layer of slippery wet over the bare rock slabs.
We started following a "three points of contact" rule and I voluntarily scooted down rocks on by bum for a while to avoid landing on it anyway. Eventually we checked the GPS and with dismay, saw that after our time in a tough downwards scramble, we'd barely made it a quarter of our way down. A little recon revealed a ski run just to our right, so we jumped off the LT and headed down that way.  You Stowe skiers are crazy - that run was steep! Dad and I did some switchbacks to ease the pain in our thighs. By this time we were completely wiped out, and the mountain obliged with a few nice views as we came out of the clouds at lower elevation. Before we knew it we were taking our last painful steps to the truck to head home at last for hot showers, "vitamin I" (Ibuprofin), and beers at the local pub! Still feeling it a couple days later but also proud that I've hit the trifecta of VT's tallest peaks and shared another great adventure with Dad.

Our daughter Lindsey, 30, works for a not-for-profit in Boston. This is their inspiring mission statement...Our mission is to help low-income teenagers transform what they believe is possible for themselves and develop the skills they need to become college-educated leaders who give back to their families and communities.

2 comments:

  1. Lyndsey, Bravo - Bravo - Bravissimo!
    Fantastic inspirational action, (non-profit)job and post of yours; thanks!
    Cheers,

    Jeanneke.

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  2. What a wonderful adventure to share with your dad, Lyndsey. Karen, you must be so proud of your daughter, and Peter, also!!

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