A Walk in the Woods
Posted by Josiah T., Aug 17, 2008. 2202 views. ID = 1609
This post was written in 1 minutes.
|This piece is significantly longer then usual, so I don't blame you if you don't want to take the time to read it...|
I wrote this for my writing class this summer, it's the first I've tried writing in the first person perspective.
|This post has been awarded 24 stars by 6 readers.|
I climb out of the car after an hour and a quarter of waiting. I look around for a trail head, but all I see is a road leading straight on with a chain across it, and a sign reading “Trail closed due to excessive rain damage.” Doug goes over to a little house nearby, where he is told that the sign is for ATVs, not hikers. “The trail head is about twenty minutes brisk walk from here.” He is told. After getting our backpacks on and adjusted, we start down the road. It is about two o'clock in the afternoon when we leave the car. We have packed sandwich fixings for supper, and we hope to be back down the mountain by seven o'clock.
At first it looks like a nice easy walk through the woods. The road slopes downhill slightly, and is quite smooth. After the first bend, however, I see why the sign was posted at the trail head. The road slopes down a little steeper, and rivets and gullies two feet deep are washed cleanly down the road, making even walking down middle of the road treacherous. I work my way more slowly now, careful to not fall and injure myself – that would put a real quick end to this hike.
Everyone else works their way around the water damage as carefully as I do. After a few minutes, we're at the bottom of the hill, and the road continues. I look at dad's GPS that I am carrying. He programmed the coordinates for the peak of the mountain into the GPS before we came. Flipping through the screens, I come across the map screen. According to my reading, the peak is directly to the left of me, but the road continues on straight.
Doug had been planning to take me to climb Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire tomorrow, but the forecast was not good. Instead, Doug came up and we (Dad, Doug, Matthias, Peter and I)decided to climb Mt. Blue in Weld, Maine.
We continue walking on down the road. For the most part, the path is level, with a few hills rising here and there. We walk on, much longer than twenty minutes. A few ATV trails jut off to the left and the right here and there, but none of these look like they have had enough wear to be the real trail head. As the road leads on, I begin to wonder if maybe one of the ATV trails really was the trail head, and we've gone by it already.
We keep walking. An hour after we started, and two miles later, we finally come to a parking lot with a sign at one end. The sign says that the distance to the peak is 1.6 miles, “Not bad,” I think, “Considering we just walked two miles in.” After resting for a few minutes, dad puts Peter in front to set the pace.
Almost immediately after leaving the parking lot, the trail becomes very steep. I very quickly have to rethinking my thinking at the trail head. The trail is very treacherous at first. The middle of the trail has been turned to mud from the recent rains, and there is slippery grass on the outside of the trail.
This section only lasts for a little while, however, and soon the trail becomes very rocky. Large boulders stick out over the trail, causing us to work our way between them. The trail is still very steep, and I stop to catch my breath every few minutes. I wait for everyone else to catch up, dad is the last. He opens his pack, takes out some granola bars and throws them at us. After having something in my stomach, I feel a little more energized, ready to take on the steep slope again.
The GPS says that we have about 1200 more feet to go on a vertical level, and about a mile to go length-wise. Some hikers (in much better condition then I am) pass us. One guy says “How did you like the bonus walk in?” Doug chuckles and says “Bonus walk? Now that's a good way to look at it!”
We hike on. The trail still consists mostly of boulders, and is still very steep. I wonder how well my knees will hold up to the return journey. After about another hour, we pass fork in the trail. The fork leads over to a little waterfall. Seeing nothing interesting, I turn around and head back to the main trail.
After about anther half an hour, the trees begin to thin. I turn around to wait for everyone else, and a gorgeous view meets my eyes. The sky is hazy, and through the tree branches I can see another mountain off in the distance, and more behind that one. A bird soars through the haze and out of sight behind the trees. I turn around and look toward the trees still above me, but see no sign of the peak. The GPS says that we still have another 200 feet to go up, and a quarter of a mile to our destination. I wonder how accurate the GPS really is, considering that dad just pulled approximate coordinates from Google Maps.
I press on ahead of everyone else. Just when I feel like I can go no farther without a break, The trees seem to fade away as I enter a clearing. There doesn't seem to be anywhere else to go at first glance. A second glance reveals a small gray shed with some antennas sticking out of it. A short distance away, a large metal frame towering above the trees.
I set my pack down on a large slab of rock and walk toward the tower, and see a small path leading through a few more trees. At the start of the path, a small sign says “scenic vista.” I walk on to a large rock ledge, on which sits the tower. I hear voices down on the other side of the ledge moving toward me. The hikers that passed us earlier appear walking up a little pathway. I nod “Good afternoon” toward them and walk to the edge of the ledge. Although there is no view from the peak, the view from here is spectacular.
Then I realize that we forgot a camera. Trying hard not to swear at myself for my stupidity, I turn and head back toward the little clearing. I sit down and wait for a few minutes. Before long, Matthias comes up the trail. He sheds his backpack next to mine, and we walk over to one of the scenic vista's.
I walk around holding the GPS in my hand, looking for the coordinates dad plugged in as the peak. It looks like they're in a bunch of trees, so I won't be able to get there. With a disappointed sigh I turn around and walk back to the clearing. Dad, Peter, and Doug are just making their way up to the clearing.
Dad immediately sits down a rock and stretches his legs. He doesn't move from this position for the rest of the time we are at the peak. Doug asks me where the view is, and I lead him over to the first scenic vista. Doug whips out his camera and starts snapping pictures. From here we can see Webb lake off to the right, but that is the only landmark that I recognize.
I walk back to the clearing to find some food, and Doug walks over to another scenic vista. I make myself a sandwich and start eating. Doug comes back a few minutes later and says that from there we can see Tumbledown Mountain, Blueberry Mountain, and both Big Jackson and Little Jackson. These names are familiar to me, since I have climbed both Tumbledown and Blueberry Mountain. I go over to the path, and after a short walk I come to a clearing. This vista is almost opposite the other one, and I can just barely see Webb lake on the far left. Beyond the lake, I can see the four mountains that Doug mentioned, but only barely, a haze lies between me and them. I go back to the clearing and eat another sandwich.
After another few minutes, we begin packing things up, and start making our way back down the trail. My knees begin to ache shortly after starting back down. I begin to dread the climbing over boulders, and took frequent stops to rest my knees. I can only imagine what dad's knees must be like, he always has trouble coming back down mountains.
About halfway down the mountain, I come back to the fork leading to the waterfall. Coming down the trail this direction, I blink and look twice as I see an old, run down cabin that I hadn't noticed on the way through earlier. It is standing right behind where I had stood looking at the small waterfall earlier this afternoon. I blink again to make sure it's still there. I walk over, wondering how on earth I could have missed it the first time.
The cabin is extremely old, and the floor is fallen through in some places. The roof also looks like it might collapse at any moment with a little pressure. I look around, and, not seeing anything interesting, turn away and head back down the trail, still wondering how I missed such an obvious landmark, even though I was standing right next to it.
The descent goes much more quickly then the ascent. In another half an hour I am standing back at the trail head waiting for everyone else to catch up. Matthias is the second to reach the parking lot, followed close by Peter, Dad, and Doug. We sit around for a few minutes, talking about the hike and catching our breaths.
Before long, however, I am ready to start the walk back to the cars. Matthias follows me, and Dad, Doug, and Peter soon follow as well. My walking stride is very long, however, and before long Matthias and I have left the other three behind on the road. I walk quickly, despite my aching knees and legs. He makes a few attempts at conversation, but I really don't feel like talking right now. Soon, my stride out-paces Matthias, and I leave him far behind as well.
I arrive at the cars several minutes before Matthias. I get in to dads and recline a seat. I open a window and just relax. I listen to the sounds of nature outside – a bird twittering in the tree tops, insects buzzing both outside the car and inside. My bones begin to stop aching, and my whole body relaxes as I doze off into a restful sleep.Copyright 2008 Josiah T.. All rights reserved. FifteenMinutesOfFiction.com has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.
|This post has been awarded 24 stars by 6 readers.|
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