View Full Version : Moosilauke Medicine 4/11/09

KD Talbot
04-15-2009, 09:11 PM


Gorge Brook Trail

10.6 Miles 2900' Elevation gain

Kevin, Judy and Emma

Needed to get into the mountains. Needed some spirit time. The beginning of April is always hard for me. My father and son both died at the beginning of April. My father has been gone 14 years. Incredibly, my son Jack has now been gone three years. April 1st marked the third anniversary of the last time I saw my son. He was lying on a cold steel gurney, tubes sticking out of his mouth. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, ever. Hug your children.

Luckily I have been blessed with the ability to take myself to this beautiful place we call the White Mountains. Here I can still walk with my dad and my son, Jack, in my mind. I can take in the sun, the forest, the views and the openness. The vast sky, the frozen landscape, the tinkling ice, the trickling water. I can sit for awhile and imagine I am with them if just to say, "I love you."

Going to the mountains is my church. Sitting on a quiet mountaintop is my memorial service. Conversations with deceased loved ones in my mind are my prayers.

Franconia Ridge

The mountains give me the strength to look forward and the strength to make peace with the past. Trips like this remind me why I've tried to keep it something more than a number. More than how many, how far, how fast. Trips like this remind me why I turned to these hills to begin with. I come here for peace and solitude and to renew my spirit. That's all I've ever wanted it to be and that's all it ever should be to me.

As we begin along the road I begin to come to life again. We plunge down from the road and cross the bridge over the Baker River. The sun is warm, the air is crisp. The river is flowing well and the ice was letting go. Up higher the trees parted for a view and I felt the renewed sense of purpose. Soon we're up high enough to take in some great views north and east. I think of how Jack would have loved the view. He loved to get up high and look around. Even as a baby he was always climbing things. We camped and hiked a lot when he was young and he carried a love for it into his adult years. One time he told me of a camping trip he made to one of the sites on Tripoli Road. I goofed on his pronunciation of Tripoli. "Triple-eye?" I asked. I later found out he was right. I never got to tell him he was right and I was wrong. Just one of many things I wish I had told him.

Standing at an outlook on Gorge Brook Trail I looked out at what seems like the whole of the White Mountains. It brought to mind the one time I took my dad to see the mountains while they were still snow covered. Having grown up in the midwest he had never seen snow covered mountains before. He said, "I can see why you love them. They're beautiful."

View Towards Washington

We hike along, the views get better. I have time to think. No pressures. Time to concentrate on the memories of my dad and my dear son. Time to heal. I guess I could do this anywhere if I took the time, but I don't think it would work as well.

On the summit the views are spectacular. The sky is filling with interesting clouds. Emma fixates on a black lab crossing the eastern snowfield and approaching the summit. She intends to defend our food from this foolish oaf. I snap back to the world with the approach of the group that belongs to the black lab. We share the summit and the dogs agree to a watchful truce.

We soon begin our descent and Emma relinquishes Queen of the Summit duties to the black lab. As we descend my thoughts return to my family past and present and I concentrate on all I am thankful for. My mind feels relief. The ache in my heart recedes. I feel better physically. Moosilauke is good medicine!

On Moosilauke

Pics here:



04-16-2009, 06:42 AM
What a beautiful trip report and wonderful pictures. Sorry to hear about you father and son. I also lost my mom and dad and I also think about them alot when I hike. I believe the our love ones can here our thoughts so keep talking to them in your mind as I will. It would be great if they could just talk back. Thank you for this trip report.

04-16-2009, 07:45 AM
Just a beautiful memorial Kevin. A great way to honor their memories.

04-16-2009, 07:51 AM
My mom and dad were not hikers, but as a family when I was growing up we would often go for "walks in the woods." My mom knew a lot about wildflowers and birds, and my dad knew a lot about trees. He was especially fond of hemlocks. Dad departed 8 years ago and Mom 2 years ago. Their ashes are mingled now in a grove of large hemlocks.

Thank you for reminding us of how the outdoors has a great restorative power.

Patrad Fischroy
04-16-2009, 08:50 AM
Reading your words and seeing your photos pretty much say it all. About the only thing I can add is to say


04-16-2009, 09:42 PM
your right about going to a place like that and walking with past love ones ,and i also take walks and remember my dogs that loved to walk with me .

your pictures look awesome and the best of all is the first one ,she is such a nice looking dog ans a Queen she is

04-17-2009, 07:06 AM
One of the events my mother talked about a lot was the day I took her to the top of Mt Washington on the Cog. It was her first time up there and she loved it! She loved to be where she could see "the Big Sky" and on the summit she was in her glory.

She used this picture on her Christmas card that year.


Yes, there is something magical on a summit.

04-17-2009, 08:31 AM
Your TR brough tears to my eyes....I am very sorry for your loss..I know the comfort the mountians can bring.