Tag Archive 'Cohos Trail'

Jul 08 2019

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After a Big Hike

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Two weeks have gone by since my big hike on the Cohos Trail. All my sores and bug bites have healed now, and my joints aren’t bothering me any more. I’m well rested, well fed, and back into my work routine. I’ve been enjoying all the comforts of life here in the developed lowlands: fresh food, cold beer, soft chairs to sit in, being clean, and always having a dry place to sleep at night. And, most of all, the pleasant company of my wife Judy. There’s a lot to be said for civilized living. Yet I’m feeling the urge to get back in the woods again, hiking somewhere, anywhere. Effortless walks around the neighborhood aren’t quite enough.

As time goes by, I think less and less about all the hardships of the trail, and find myself recalling those precious moments in the wild: awakening to a chorus of forest songbirds, drawing water from a clear stream flowing around moss-covered rocks, and tramping down a narrow trail cutting through birches and ferns. The mind filters experiences before storing them away as memories. Yes, I also recall the bloodsucking bugs, the unpleasant boggy stretches, and that terrible last-mile exhaustion of the longer hiking days. But somehow those memories aren’t such a big deal any more. The highs seem to carry more weight than the lows.

Truth is, every extended solitary hike I do rocks my world in a way that doesn’t immediately make sense to me. Two weeks after my big hike, I’m still feeling a little off balance. It takes time to process an immersion in the wild – time enough to contrast and compare it to my regular routine, I suppose. Time for the mental journey to emerge from the physical one. Time for thoughts and feelings to resurface with a careful rereading of my field journal, or while looking at photos, or while simply reflecting upon a memory coming out of nowhere.

In due time, I’ll figure out what exactly happened to me on the Cohos Trail. Only then will I be able to write about it. But that won’t take place until I have a chance to get back in the woods again. After all, wild thoughts and feelings are best processed in wild places. My armchair reflections don’t quite cut it.

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Oct 21 2014

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Scouting the Cohos Trail

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SouthPondTrailYesterday I drove to New Hampshire to scout the trailheads and exit points of the Cohos Trail in anticipation of hiking it next year. I took my dog Matika with me even though the trip was more about driving than hiking. She didn’t complain.

With temps in the 40s, snow in the higher elevations, and all the leaves on the ground, it felt more like November than October in the White Mountains.  No matter.  I was able to get a good feel for the landscape.  There is plenty of rugged, remote country north of the ever-popular Presidential Range. I look forward to immersing myself in it.

Halfway through my scouting trip, I grabbed my rucksack and headed south along a yellow-blazed trail hugging South Pond for a short while.  Both Matika and I needed to stretch our legs and South Pond seemed like a good place to do that. The recreation area where I parked the car was completely abandoned and the shoreline trail looked very inviting.  I’m sure South Pond will look completely different to me when I’m trekking through here with a full load on my back, finishing a leg of the CT next year. The terrain always looks different when I’m making tracks.

After finding the exit point at Dixville Notch, thus completing my scouting trip, I marveled at how new the Cohos Trail is.  Aside from the yellow blazes, one wouldn’t know that such a trail even exists.  It’s definitely a work in progress, and not for those who like to plod mindlessly along a well-beaten path. But northern New Hampshire seethes wildness, which is why I am drawn to it.  And soon enough I’ll be following those yellow blazes for days on end.

 

 

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