Posted by: rachelanne229 | September 12, 2010

the Dicker girls on top of the world. Or at least New England.

Road Trip Extravaganza Days 9 & 10

Mt. Washington, White Mtns., NH and back to Maine and Mass

Saturday, 14 August and Sunday, 14 August 2010

The scratchy radio alarm clock went off in our bedroom at Tom and Heather’s at 4:15 AM. I got up and got ready, and then woke up Dee while I started packing up extra clothes and food. We walked out their door about 5:15 and got into the dew-covered Blueberry. The sky was dark, dark blue and the air was chilly. I ate my raisin bran muffin and Dee ate her blueberry one, and we quietly drove to Rt. 16. She dozed a little and I listened to whatever country music station would come in at the time. Before long, rays of sun started blazing across the sky and we realized that yes, today was the day we would summit Mt. Washington.

I was a little fuzzy on the directions to Pinkham Notch, but we pulled into the gravel driveway of the PN Visitor Center around 6:30. Thirty or so cars were already there, and hikers were slowly mulling about, waiting for the visitor center to open its doors. Dee and I squabbled over who would carry the marshmallows and who would carry the bagels and who would carry the apples, because we love to squabble, and then we adjusted our socks and boots, and when we felt like real hiking women, we went up to the visitor center to sign in. We saw a couple women getting ready to head up, but mostly big groups of guys. They were adjusting the straps on their huge packs, wandering thru the room to see if they needed any extra shot blocks or sock warmers for the trek up, and were very excited to prove their manliness. We chatted with the ultra adorable guy at the desk, and signed in. “Tuckerman Ravine to summit!”

Of course we had to pee before we set out, so we made use of the compost toilets and I had some flashbacks of outhouses from the days our dad used to work on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and family fishing trips and the time I locked little Dee in an outhouse with a massive wood spider inside. Muahahahahaha. When she finally busted out of there, she streaked across the trail with her bathing suit still down around her knees. Another one of those sweet, sweet sisterly memories I will always cherish:).  Anyway, we asked someone to take a start-out picture of us by the Tuckerman Ravine sign, and then we hit the trail, baby!

kicking off, 6:45 am

We took a break after about 10 minutes. Dee ate an apple, and we kept going. Poor Dee was a little cranky, because as you may remember from a previous post, she is not particularly keen on hiking. But here we were climbing the tallest peak in the Northeast, and I was loving every second. The weather was perfect: about 70 degrees and sunny, with nary a cloud in sight. After an hour or so, Dee perked up and we finally found our groove. We weren’t hauling, but we were making good time and enjoying ourselves. At one point we got passed by a guy sprinting up the mountain in VFF KSOs! I was so impressed. The bros we had seen earlier that morning at the visitor center also passed us, and they looked a little less excited, but still manly, and we were happy to have them ahead of us and go our own pace.

After a couple hours, we reached Hermit Lake, and went into the hut there to talk to another ultra adorable guy. I think the job requirements for being a ranger on this mountain go something like this: Must have sparkling eyes, a strong jaw, and be an ultra adorable mountain man under the age of 30. We devoured some Nutty Bars and carrots on the picnic table outside the hut, and noticed a couple guys walking by in flannel PJ pants and wool hats. This wouldn’t be the last time we ran into them!

hermit lake hut

Before we hit the trail again, Dee had to pee. By this point in the trip, I was getting tired of her pathetically small bladder, so while she was in the bathroom, I hid her pack near the entrance of the men’s bathroom and walked down a little side trail to get a look at the beautiful sunny vistas surrounding us. A couple minutes later I walked back up to the bathrooms, and Dee was coming out in a panic without her backpack. Unfortunately, I’m a terrible liar and have never been able to keep a straight face while I’m trying to play tricks on people, so she knew of my dirty deed right away. I giggled to myself and she scowled and we started climbing again. The summit was in sight!

and here is hermit lake

half-way point

The scenery at this point started getting really cool. We were getting out of the cover of all the trees, and moving up into a more boulder-covered area, complete with flowing mountain streams and wild flowers. We kept remarking on how DELICIOUS the air smelled. But wait, what was that new smell floating in on the breeze? Marijuana?! We climbed over a few more corners and came across the flannel-legged guys, only now they were in shorts. Well, one of them was; the other one quickly finished changing and hurriedly pulled his up. We chatted with them for a sec, and they lamented the fact that it was sooooo hottttt outtt, and we agreed. It was pretty hot out. Over the course of the trip up, they passed us again and asked for sunscreen. Unfortunately, we had nothing to offer them. After another half hour or so, we overtook the flannel boys for the last time.  One of them was lagging pretty bad. He was bummed for a second that he was getting passed by girls AGAIN, and then mentioned that it was soooo hotttt outtt. We concurred, and forged ahead, never to see the flannel boys again, even on the way down.

Dee and a mountain

we smoked them boys! ahahahah

Climb, climb, climb, we kept climbing. By this time we were having a blast, because we thought we were getting real close to the top. We had climbed through a waterfall (badass!) and taken some nice pics of each other, and we generally feeling good, when we saw the two women from earlier in the morning coming DOWN the mountain. This sight bolstered our spirits and we decided to “git ‘er done,” as we say in the County.

she'd kill me for putting this in, shhh:P

back sweat like you've never seen!

We scrabbled to the top of the section we were on, and read the sign at the top. It said something ridiculous like 0.8 miles left. Are you serious?! We thought we were 10 minutes away! Every 0.2 miles, we would come to another such signpost, and the distances traveled would only discourage us. Dear Signpost, are you telling me I just pulled myself up over all those huge rocks, sweating like it’s the last thing I’ll ever do, and I’ve only gone another 0.2 miles? But we kept our noses to the grindstone, literally, and kept winding our ways up and up.

Dee making her way up some bouldahs

oooh pretty flowers in a mountain stream!

psshh yeah we're almost there

Suddenly, there was nothing left to climb, and BOOM, there we were! And there was….a parking lot. And another parking lot. And tourists with fanny packs and flip flops and white Ralph Lauren sweaters without so much as a smudge of sweat or grime or blood. I want to see scratches on your legs and smears of dirt on your face if you’re going to share the top of this mountain with me! We had to get in line behind a group of people who had driven to the top to take our pic with the summit sign. This situation was super lame in my book. We had just hiked 4.2 miles over a period of 4 hours, to an elevation of 6288 feet, and we had to share this achievement with the people who had driven up in 45 minutes, eating Bonbons and listening to Elton John on the radio? OK, I don’t even know what Bonbons are, so I forgave these touristy types and took my damn picture. I was actually way too scared to drive to the top, since I have a fear of steep things, so even tho I was sweatier, the touristy types were the far braver souls.

beautiful

oh terror of terrors! how do they insure this thing?

DONE. pretty pleased:)

Dee and I wandered around the top a little, checking out the Tip-Top House, the original hotel on the top of the mountain, and decided to eat our lunch. It was 10:45, after all.

We sat on some rocks by the edge, and some guy and his wife hollered to us from the safety of the boulders by the weather station. They thought we were brave sitting on our little perch. We hollered back that we were from Maine, and I’m sure another high-five happened here. They were from Florida. The guy wanted to take some pictures of us, so I hiked up and gave him my camera and he shot away. We tried to look like mountain women, and then we tried to look pensive, and then cute, and then we looked like we were just happy to be at the top and with each other. And we were.

We left our parents a voicemail from the summit, just because we thought it was awesome that we could do so, and to tell them we were still alive, and then we devoured our lunches. These were composed of 2-day old bagels and croissants from Verna’s Bakery (the bakery next to my apartment, mmmm, delish, amazing, heavenly), Cheeze Doodles, granola, Hershey’s, carrots, apples, Pringles, and Marshmallows. Good thing we’re not on the Atkins. Dee “accidentally” flung the Cheeze Doodles over the precipice in her fit of mirth, and had to go retrieve them.  She climbed back up, and we sat and looked out across the chains of mountains.  We were so elated at this point in our journey. Our trip had gone perfectly and we had successfully navigated ourselves all around New England and New York and back, while having non-stop adventures. And at the end of all of it, we had summited Mt. Washington! So to celebrate, we cracked up. Everything we said made us bust into a bout of uncontrollable laughter. We couldn’t stop smiling, we were wildly inappropriate, and we chortled until the sides of our mouths hurt and we literally starting to choke on our food and suffocate. It was a good time.

oh hey mom, we're calling you from mt. washington.

oh hey new england, i can see all of you

deidre's face of mischievous mirth

verna's bakery is my homeboy

By this time, some clouds had started to roll across the sky, and we were a little chilly. We couldn’t complain tho, since we were still in shorts! We decided to head down the trail and get back to the car. We made the trip down in about 3 hours, encouraging those going up, and asking how much farther once we were getting close to the bottom. We kept leap-frogging a guy from the areas who said he’s climbed the mountain dozens of time, and exchanged niceties with lots of others. AND we saw 10 dogs on the way down, which caused us to miss Jackie very much. Not sure we’d bring her here tho; she has a hard enough time recovering from a hike up Quoggy Jo:P After Hermit Lake, we pretty much flung ourselves down over the hill. Our legs were tired of getting jarred by all the rocks, and we were ready to go home and eat supper. We hit the base around 2:45, and felt triumphant beyond words. We did it! We climbed it and made it down!

hand-washing station

After signing ourselves out and hobbling to the car, we peeled off our boots, grabbed the remainder of the granola, and sped away, back to Stark for our final nite before we headed in our separate directions. We got back early, and took showers and got ready to treat ourselves to a nice and hearty post-summit supper. The only restaurant options in Stark were a pizza place and a family restaurant. I wanted the family restaurant, but Dee wanted pizza, so pizza it was. I actually ended up ordering spaghetti, she a pepperoni pizza, and we split some cheese sticks as an appetizer. We were really friggin hungry. And weren’t watching our carbs in the least. This place, Stone Pizza, was empty as a tomb. Everybody Loves Raymond was playing up in the corner, which was great, and we were the only ones in the place besides the guy at the cashier and the guy cooking. After a time, our food was ready and we went up to get it. My spaghetti wasn’t cooked thru, and her pizza was greasier than a mechanic’s fingernails, but we ate ravenously. We decided we wanted ice cream after, but Stark does not have an ice cream place, so we ordered soft serve twists for dessert. They tasted like plastic, but at least they were cold. We paid, once for our meals, and then separately for our cones, which was weird, but we were too tired to care.

We were done supper and back to Tom and Heather’s by about six, and we collapsed in their living room in front of Monsters, Inc. until they came home. It was Tom’s birthday, and they and the kids had gone to a BBQ for the day. They didn’t get home till almost nine, and Dee and I were absolutely zonked out of our minds with exhaustion. The kids, our little second cousins, were so cute. Catherine ran in the door and gave me a big hug, and immediately started chattering, and Levi sat in his mini-recliner and told us all about his favorite parts of Monsters, Inc. The kids got ready for bed and gave us big hugs again, and then we sat with Tom and Heather and told them of our adventures and talked about our relatives. Since our eyes just couldn’t stay open, we got ready for bed, and collapsed again. This time Dee got the double bed and I got the bunk, but I don’t think I would’ve noticed if I were sleeping on a yoga mat in the kitchen. I just needed to lay down and pass out.

so much comfort all in one place

The next morning we rose at the crack of dawn again; we had lots of driving to do. Dee had to get back to the County to see her boyfriend, and I had to get back to Cambridge to run 18 miles. We left Tom and Heather’s around 6, and quietly said goodbye to the town of Stark before much of anyone was awake. On our way west, back into southern Maine, where Dee had left her car at Aunt Becky’s, she dozed a little and I tried not to do the same. We passed by Santa’s Village, and Storyland. Man, I miss that place—the place where childhood dreams come true! After about 4 hours, we rock ‘n’ rolled into Maine: The Way Life Should Be. Ain’t that the truth. I dropped Dee off at her car, and we divvied up the remaining food. I had 2 hours of driving to the south, and she had 5 hours of driving to the north. Even tho I had spent the past 240 hours with her, I missed that kid already, and was sad to part ways. I wanted to drive home with my sister more than anything in the world! But I had miles to run and a paycheck to earn. So, like the previous 10 days, I hugged my little sissy and then kept on driving. The Road Trip Extravaganza 2010 was complete—the Dicker girls had conquered New England, baby!

residual vermont hiking pic:)

done. SEEYA!

ok, last one i swear

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