Weare, Weir, Where…

It took me nearly a full week to recover from last week’s mountain mayhem, but my roommate finally convinced me to get out from under the covers and do something! So I called up my two hiking buddies whom upon the last hike we took literally left me for dead on the side of the trail and went on hiking. I was willing to forgive and forget though. “A winter hike it shall be! And after that, down we will ski!” said Eric, he likes to tallk in Dr. Suess sentences. I rounded up my friend Keith and we headed up to Waterville, Maine where Eric attends Colby.We woke up very early (7:30 am) and headed west to Saddleback Mountain in Rangley. It was was shortly after leaving Colby that Eric informed us that he had no idea how to get there, what the trail was like or how we were really going to get down.After much map flipping and steering wheel slamming, we arrived at the trailhead of the Appalachian Trail. While we tried to pack our bags and secure our snow shoes the logging trucks would whip by us tearing the hats off our heads and the snot out of our nose.The first half of the 5.7 mile hike was gradual and pleasant with a magnificant blue sky over our head and a 30 degree air temperature. The trail wraps south around the base of the mountain and then heads almost straight up for three miles. We encountered three small high altitude lakes which provided for a wonderful challenge of where the trail actually went. The heavy amounts of snow covered the worn path through the snow which had already fallen over the winter season.As we gained altitude the boughs of the trees that overhung on the trail would dump snow down Eric’s back after his skis triggered the snow falls. While Eric became frusterated by the amount of snow that was travellling down his back, he was completely unaware of the perils which he would soon ace as the snow filled his ski boots that he wore strapped over his pack.Soon though, the low branches gave way to magnificant views of Mount Washington to the West and Sugarloaf to the East. Hiking above treeline forces you to carefully tread over the resiliant yet very fragile vegetation that lives up there. Due to the high winds that beat the extremely exposed ridgeline of Saddleback there is only bulletproof ice for one and a half miles to the summit which would have been impossible without the aid of crampons.With our shoulders burning and our calf muscles draging behind us, we made it to the peak of Saddleback Mountain, all four thousand one hundred and twenty feet of it. We embraced and danced for our victory still knowing that getting down and then back to our car was not something that we had finalized yet.We got very lucky by finding that Saddleback Ski Area’s T-bar brought skiers .3 miles from where we previously danced atop the summit. It was there that Eric cursed every second that he had made while purchasing the ski boots that he was trying to fit his foot into. The frozen boot liner made Eric hop around while trying to jam his foot into what might as well have been a two-inch steel pipe. After a lot of sweating, teeth clenching and swearing, the boots were on and we were down. The matter of getting a ride back to the car was easy. I was chosen as being the smoothest talker of the group and I convinced a pleasant elderly man to drive me back to the car. He did so and as a parting gift was able to pawn off a Tom Clancy book tape on me.We returned with glory to Colby and promptly fell sleep in awkward positions exhausted and satisfied while dreaming of Brittany Spears singing, “The Beat Goes On.”