Today figured pretty high on my list of days I hope never to repeat. We lost Noah unexpectedly. I will write in due course, but it’s too raw right now.
I’ve been frittering away the evening scanning negatives and watching YouTube. These are taken with my new ONDU 6×6 pinhole on Portra 400 during my trip to Lakes of the Clouds back in June.
As noted in the header above, details have been changed in my stories in the interest of patient confidentiality. One of those details is the identifier of the unit(s) involved.
However, recently one of my employers changed their numbering scheme. Overnight, some of my fictional ambulances and paramedic units became ‘real.’ (Ooh, a hint about who he works for. Go ahead, Google. While I don’t mention it I’m not trying to hide.)
So to clarify (or further obfuscate?), while some of the units involved in my posts may have real-world equivalents, the numbers are random and not related. I’m thinking of switching to Ambulance 9/Paramedic 9 for future posts. (A glimpse into his psyche? Why 9?) But then again, for reasons known only to me I can’t use Engine 9, and Happy already uses Engine 99.
I also like the number 68 in homage to a favorite shift of yore. Engine 68? Maybe.
I am, and remain Mack505. (Or am I?)
Saturday, July 16 dawned. . .well, it dawned. The weather was nice in the Mount Washington Valley at 05:00. The forecast was for sun and temperatures in the high 80’s. (In the valley.)
The higher summit forecast was also decent. It called for temperatures in the 50’s with winds below 20 MPH and “peaks in the clouds.” That’s weather-speak for fog. All in all, a standard July day on Mount Washington.
I departed before sunrise in an effort to hit the trail as early as possible and maximize my available time. The Seek the Peak folks were planning a party at the trail head at 06:00, but I planned to be long gone by then.
This is Berk. She is Mrs. Mack505’s mascot and was dispatched to assist me on my hike.
Berk and I were the only ones at the Ammonoosuc Ravine parking lot. We started out at 05:40, and we met three other hikers who had started from the Cog Railway parking cutoff. We leapfrogged on the trail for a while, but we never saw them again after Gem Pool.
The trail to Lakes of the Clouds seemed shorter than last time, perhaps because the mountain was no longer trying to kill me. I went through all the usual emotions: this isn’t bad, OK maybe it’s tough, what was I thinking?, I’m going to die, and finally I CAN DO THIS. A shade less than 2 1/2 hours brought us to the door of Lakes just as breakfast was ending. Channel 8 was setting up a shot, and a crowd flowed out of the hut.
The fog had begun in earnest.
Above the hut, the going is rocky but not too steep. I didn’t mind the crowd as visibility was limited. We hiked single file across Crawford Path, trekking from cairn to cairn.
The USFS is serious.
Another hour brought the summit. One moment we were plodding along in the fog; the next a large building appeared. 5.04 miles, 3 1/2 hours, and there we were.
We arrived early and didn’t have to stand in a long line to take a picture.
It’s done. I made it to the top, and all before lunch. Before second breakfast, actually. I left enough time for a leisurely descent, but I decided to cheat and take the Cog back down to my car.
Next year will be ascent AND descent.
If I were playing the Minimalism Game competitively I would have lost by now. I’m in it to downsize though, so we continue.
Day 6 – a broken couch, 4 unused and unloved chairs, and a beat up tool bag.
Day 7 is in two photos. From the farm we have two puzzles, two manuals from Earl, an expired CO alarm (did you know they wear out?), and a bottle of all-natural DEET-free (aka useless) insect repellent.
And finally from home, a backpacking water filter. It’s a cool piece of technology which I never use and never will.This brings the total to 531 if I’ve counted correctly.
The home owning saga continues. . .
These steps were damaged by a falling ice dam two winters ago. They were patched pending a proper repair. Today I vowed to make the repair. Things went well, but the railings were more rotten than I had realized.
Tomorrow will be painting and new railings. I also bought the parts to replace the rotten railings on the side steps; however after power washing them I discovered they need to be fully rebuilt.
I ended the day with a campfire, a beer, my dog, and a book in the back yard. Not bad, even if I did add another project to my list.
Day 5 – random bottles of booze. We will never drink these. Left for our hosts from the weekend.
Running total: 523.
Day 4 – random stuff found under the sink. I don’t even own that humidifier any more.
Running total: 518