Warm Up for New England


Prepping for our 14 Day trip to New Hampshire (T minus 12 hours and counting) took a different turn this year. We decided to take a three day weekend at the cabin. Kurt wanted to get some painting done and we wanted to introduce the kids to hiking. We managed both, though only one gave me nightmares.

Kurt sanded for 2 hours in the morning (after a long lie-in). After lunch, we went on the first of our official hikes, found in the Falcon Guide to Hiking the Sierra Nevadas. While the guide has lovely descriptions of the hikes, it is not very accurate in it’s directions to the trails. For instance, Saturday we went to the Columns of the Giants which was listed as wheelchair accessible, and therefore an easy first hike for the kids. It was supposed to be 58 miles beyond the Pinecrest Ranger Station. We saw it whiz by 24 miles beyond Pinecrest…and had to try to turn around in the two lane highway with a cliff on one side and a ravine on the other. It was worth the trouble, though. Buried under shards of volcanic rock is a glacier. People have removed rocks to form pits, and if you squat down and reach your hands under the rocks you can feel the cold. A fork of the Stanislaus River flows along the trail as well, so we saw people fly fishing and played with pebbles in the water. Megan counted 98 rings on a felled tree (it was National Forest land, not National Park). Just a baby in this area. The kids did NOT enjoy the outhouses, though, and were quick to tell me that I should have brought hand sanitizer. But what are a few measly germs? Gives the immune system a little exercise, right?

Our hike on Sunday was nearly a killer. Trail of the Gargoyles was listed in our guide as being on a “well maintained” dirt road – the same road that had an undercarriage-ripping boulder painted caution yellow to tell you to swerve – and we had picked up the numbered interpretive brochure from the ranger station. This government-approved trail quickly went from 3 feet from the edge to 6 inches from the edge. No fences or rails or berm of any kind. And we had the kids. (Stop laughing Sid!) The height and potential of death was 6 times greater than any castle keep we’ve ever climbed. But we made it – past The Noses, through The Maze, and The Storybook Trees. Spectacular views, at least that’s what everyone tells me. I had a tremendous view of my boots most of the time. We got to post #9 when both the kids and I balked. Kurt wanted to find The Promontory (last post) so RAN on ahead. After what seemed to be 30 minutes (probably only 5), I called out to him and was relieved to hear him echo back.

It was not a circular trail so we had to brave the 6 inch bits of trail twice. This was the North Rim, mind you. There was no way Ian and I were going on the South Rim. We went swimming in a deserted Pinecrest Lake and ate a picnic supper instead. While we drove home Monday morning, Kurt and I compromised and wrote out a “Minimum Trail Requirements” list to keep me sane and the kids in one piece.

And now it’s time for vacation…

Cheers, Jessi

Quote of the Day:

Ian – to Kurt on the Trail of the Gargoyles, “If I fell from this cliff, what would the altitude be?” (we were at 6000 feet)

Megan – to Jessi on the same trail, “Mom, if you keep gripping my hand like that I really will slip off the edge.”

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