Thursday, September 21, 2006

#25 Garfield
Garfield Mountain needs a sign at the summit. If you give it to me, I'll carry it up and hang it myself. I will bring some nails, power tools, whatever it takes. Maybe just a little marker even, indicating that the one small trail leaving Garfield's georgeous summit, branches into 2 distinct trails , leading to 2 different destinations. After the long 5 miles up Garfield which was cool, cloudy and autumn-like, I relaxed with some folks from Paris Maine. For a half hour we talked, took pictures and laughed as the dog cuddled up on a stranger's lap. Reaching the summit of Garfield, the clouds lifted to reveal a stunning cool fall day. A man and wife were staying at Galehead : with them , 2 bottles of wine and a radio for listening to the 1:00 Pats game against Buffalo. I wish I had a bottle of wine , a radio and a reservation at Galehead! Instead, I needed to dash down by 11:00 to catch the game on BCN for the drive home. Here is where the necessary sign comes in. I mistakenly assume the Garfield Ridge Trail is the trail I need to get down to the bottom of Garfield Mountain Trail. So, I'm soon climbing down Garfield on my way to Lafayette. I do encounter unfamiliar steep rocks. I then question myself, "I don't remember this part," I say. I turn around when a guy shows me the map and sure enough I am ascending Lafayette. So I turn around and climb back up Garfield. It is here that I wish to burst into tears but I don't. In reality, I am lucky. Instead I enjoy the trip down the mountain and meet lots of aspiring couples and their eager dogs. I want to be at my car at 1:00, but I have lost over an hour. It's well into the 2nd quarter when the station picks up the game in Plymouth: we're losing by 10! Crap!
By the trime I'm home we've turned the game around. Pats win it!

The flag flies on cannon 9/9/06



Here we are on Jefferson - its Flags on the 48 day! The day when 48 flags fly from 48 peaks to memorialize the anniversary of 9/11. I got to the KOA campground late Friday night and hung with a bunch from the Flags crew . Cool part is meeting people I know only as SherpaJohn - DirtGirl- and Mountain Drew.Drank some wine and kicked some butt in Scrabble - it was a hoot. Also learned a new word game with some fanatically word-game crazed individuals like myself, so that was probably the highlight of the night. As Ghost Dog was aggressively prowling the campground, Ruby cowered in the car most of the night. I brought up some scrap fire wood and hung out till the last of them hit the hay. I knew Saturday's weather was looking like crap - I got up early around 6:00 to head over to Caps Ridge trail and started around 7:30. I met up with Tom and Atticus, the famous dog of Rocks on Top lore - and stayed with them for awhile. Amidst the fog I lost the trail at one point and saw Tom's crew heading toward Pierce. By back-tracking and scrambling over huge rocks toward Jefferson Loop, I made it back around again. I got to the summit with the mist and wind arriving on cue. A group put up a marine flag with a father dedicating the moment to his son, stationed in Iraq. It was cool - but my digital camera froze up and the lens wouldn't open. I had to change the batteries and trouble -shoot the camera in my mittens. Only one picture came out. I left the summit early around 11:00, just as the flags crew arrived carrying the pole in about 8 sections. I ran as fast as I could down the mountain, thunder rumbling in the background. Ruby got stuck on "middle" cap and I had to pick her up and carry her down. On this trip I ran into a bunch of people, including a hippy carrying a bongo drum up the mountain, asking questions about the presence of the flag. Here, I handed out lots of business cards with the FOT48 mission. "OOOOOhhhh, " they all said. A couple from Hollis remarked, "I thought it was a holiday we didn't know about.Now we know." It was 12:30 at Base Road, and I thought of which mountain I could get to the quickest and get up the fastest by 1:30 so I could be part of some Flag experience. Calculating that by driving 85 mph and hi-jacking the Tram, I'd make it to Cannon in under 1 hour. Maybe if the weather cooperates, I could catch a view. At the tram station, I talk the ranger into giving me a free ride , which he obliges. I was at first the only person waiting to go up the tram in the pouring rain and thunder. But wait! Up to the station pulls a sleek black limo with a bridal party crammed in tight! It's Rachel's big day and the wedding atop Cannon - in the snack bar- is at 2:00. "Hold the Tram!" The photographer shouts, who then proceeds to hold up the whole show snapping pictures of the bride and her maid of honor in various poses as they frolic in the station. The mother of the maid of honor arrives complaining about the tiny size of the tram, "Its like a little bus!" She cackles. She then leaves the line to fetch her cigarettes causing yet another delay. Finally, we board with the ranger explaining the whole trip will take 7 minutes, along with some mild turbulence. "Oh my God, you're shittin' me, right?" barks Bride-maid mama, clutching Camel filters.There were other educated questions like, "Does this thing ever lose power?" and "Why is it good luck to wave to the passing tram?" The quick thinking ranger was cheerful with his answers. As the wedding party exited the tram, the ranger called out, "good luck!" To which a confrontational father of the bride demanded, "why did he say that? What - do we look like we need good luck or something?!" The awkward moment was met by an even more awkward silence. The summit was pouring rain and I dashed to the observation tower quickly. I didn't see the flag...with a breif respite, Jenni emerged with her partner and raised the flag for the final 40 minutes of the afternoon. There were a few admiring stragglers, but the summit was empty and no views in sight. I came down the tram with a few others who were stranded in the snack bar but were told to leave because of the wedding. There was a collective sense of feeling tremendously ripped off. At least my ride was free.