Emma on the summit of Galehead
Galehead Mountain 1/10/09
13 Miles 2250' Elevation gain
Kevin, Emma, Sabrina, Michael, Terra, Dave and Jeremy
After a tough December in which my ma fell and broke some ribs and her shoulder blade, followed up by "The Ice Storm", seven days without power, several snowstorms, Christmas, Jude not feeling well, Emma diagnosed with a tick borne disease, (not Lyme), ma coming home from rehab and needing round the clock care, a severe lack of intelligence among the people I work with that happen to be in charge, the prospects of getting out on any hikes was not looking good. Friday I got an invitation to join a very cool group to hike to Galehead and South Twin. Not feeling up to it, Jude said, "Go!". She stayed with ma and even suffered through the day without the love of her life, Emma, so that Emma could join me. We call these "Daddy/Daughter Days". I must say it felt a little weird not having my long time hiking partner with us, but it certainly was needed. I think Emma needed it, too! She frolicked and ran most of the day, while I did my best just to drag my butt up this hill. At 50, not hikin' for a month can really put a crimp in your style. We found ourselves at the designated parking spot of Beaver Brook at the designated time. The others showed up within a few minutes and we were soon ready to start off on our trek. There was a new person to meet, Dave Sun-ra, and old friends Michael J, Sabrina and Terra, along with Jeremy (Rocket21). Now, you would think that Rocket21 would have something to do with Roger Clemens, but I have found that Rocket is how he likes to get to summits, and 21 is his approximate age. I explained to him that I could not run all the way to South Twin, and he assured me in that casual way that folks his age assure "Old People" that he had no intentions of it. Terra explained to Emma that she was the "Lead Dog" and we were off! Along the first mile we were able to question Rocket as to the absence of LRiz, to which there was no explanation, so the subject was dropped, for the time being. To my surprise, I was able to keep up for the first few miles, but then started to drop further and further behind. I was feelin rather bad that people had to stand around in the cold to wait for me, but Michael graciously kept me company and assured me that he didn't want to go much faster, that I was keeping a good pace. I guess the assurance that we weren't going to run the whole way was trumped by the minus seven temps. I would have liked to talk to Michael, (and anybody else if I could have got near them), but most of my conservation consisted of, "Insert favorite curse word here, I can't do it. I'm not gonna' make it... etc." I'll tell you, the only thing that got me to the top of Galehead Mountain this day was the positive reinforcement supplied by my fellow travelers. Thanks, guys! I should have eaten more, but I was workin' too hard to keep up. Then the cramps in my quads started and I kept stopping to drink. That half mile climb up to Garfield Ridge Trail really kicked my butt, but I was able to catch a second wind there and the rest of the way went a lot better.
At the hut we finally got out into the sun, with temps rising to about 10 degrees, so it was like a sauna in comparison. After some food and drink and, yes, I dropped the pack, shame on me, I made the last half mile to the summit along the Frost Trail. Along the way I saw the rest coming back down and we said our good byes as I assured them my day was over and they'd have to get South Twin without me. I would have loved to as the views must have been spectacular, but I didn't have it in me to make the 8/10ths mile and 1150' vertical to climb Jacob's Ladder from the hut. I'll just have to live that part through their pictures and descriptions. This left just Emma and I to make the long trek back to the car. We made pretty good time, getting back a little before 5pm. Shortly after our arrival in the parking lot some folks came out of the woods and at first I thought it was my compadres, but, to my relief, it turned out to be x-country skiers. It may have been the final blow to my hiking ego if they had made it to South Twin and then back out in almost the same time it took me just to walk out!
Gray Jay Perisoreus canadensis