The climb up Mt. Madison to the Presidential Range was a hard one. We had to hiked up over 3,300 vertical feet with several false peaks--5, if I recall correctly. The wind was fierce, liable to sweep you off the mountain side. We leaned so hard into it that on occasion when it would stop we would have to quickly brace ourselves to prevent a blunt rock to the head. It was hard to hear each other and it was hard to see the blazes. But it was fun, more than anything else.
Luckily, the day Curse, Yeti and I climbed Madison, we met up with Happy Feet and Navajo, a hiking duo of very good humor. I had been wanting to get to know them and they were going just my speed, so I latched onto them.
I firmly believe that life is always that much more fun when you can turn it into a sick joke. And that’s what we did much of the afternoon.
In an excerpt from my journal:
...many raunchy comments were made this afternoon as we summited Mt. Madison. Happy Feet noted what “a hard (and long) f***, it was.” Navajo supposed that due to the crazy wind speed “it wasn’t consensual.” Upon summiting Madison, I declared: “I just mounted Madison, and I’d do it again.” To which Happy Feet added, “He’s trying to buck me off. I think he’d prefer to be on top.” Navajo shrugs his shoulders: “He likes to blow. Such a giver!”
And those are just a few.
The morning I summited Washington (teehee), I first summited Adams, and then crossed the Cog rail without mooning it. It's an old thru-hiker tradition, perhaps, but now its one that can get you arrested. I waved, disappointed. I had never mooned anyone before. I kind of wanted to.
I took my time climbing. It wasn’t hard, but the trail was loaded with people and I had to have a conversation with all of them. Then, around noon, I found myself standing in a line, waiting my turn to touch the Mt. Washington summit sign. Everyone else in the line had on flip flops, visors, huge cameras, and 1990s fashion. They smelled nice. And understandably, as my family had done when I was young, these families had driven up to the top of Mt. Washington for the view, to say they did it and to put that bumper sticker on the back of their car, “This car climbed Mt. Washington.” I really want to see one that says, “You won’t believe what I did in this car while it climbed Mt. Washington.” But I never have.
People were eager to get a picture by the sign, and I found some people “budging”, in front of me. I wasn’t upset. But I didn’t want to wait any longer. So, before the next set of people went up, I tapped one of them on the shoulder and said,
“Hi, I’m sorry I don’t need a picture, but I would like to touch the sign really quickly, if that’s alright.”
The woman looked me over. “You climbed all the way up here?”
“Yes m’am.” I answered
“Oh sweetie. Where did you start?”
“Um, Maine, actually.”
“Maine? Oh my...” She started waving her hand. “You go...you go right on ahead and touch that sign. Hey everybody! This young lady just hiked here all the way here from Maine!” I had the crowd's attention as I approached the sign. I gave it a tap and made a triumphant pose. The crowd burst into applause for me. It was the very best way to summit. I then made my way through the crowd, shaking hands, and getting pats on the backs from complete strangers.
Then a man yelled to me, “Hey little lady, where are ya going?” He and the crowd waited for reply.
“Georgia.” I replied. “I’m going to Georgia.”
“Best of luck to ya.”
The crowd smiled, and I heard a couple people say, “well, I'll be.”
Yeah, I’m going to Georgia. This is for real.