2008-09-20 07:58:07.000 – Mike Finnegan, IT Observer
Well, it has been a couple of beautiful days and nights here on the summit. I got out for a nice sunrise hike yesterday, a bit by mistake. I only went out for a short walk, but I was in the fine mode of moseying and when in such a mode, it is quite easy just to keep going. After being up all night I was a bit tired, but this was alright. I didn’t need, nor did I want, to hike quickly. There will be other times for that. For now, there were more pressing reasons to go slowly. For one, the scenery is beautiful; from the short contrail of the plane far above, glowing bright pink like a fiery tail to the brilliantly colorful alpine vegetation to the fog nestled in the valleys below juxtaposed to the rugged Tuckerman’s Ravine. I find it important at times to walk away from the summit and change my perspective on it from one of home and work to that of simply another mountain in the Presidential Range without the scars of humans. Clearly this is not how it is, but it is how it once was, and this is easy to forget. Walking away at sunrise, there is usually no one else on the mountain besides at the summit. Walking further away to the ridge between Oakes Gulf and Gulf of Slides, I am beyond sight of the summit. I hike a bit off the trail and am out of site of the cairns, the last signs of human presence near to me. Sitting on a flat topped boulder overlooking the Gulf of Slides I consciously stop the incessant conversation in my head about who-knows-what and just appreciate where I am and be thankful for my good fortune. Things could be different. Soon, tiredness begins to overtake me, so I set out my half pad and rest back on my pack to take a short nap in the sun. The nap is short however, and I eventually rise to wander off trail back to the Camel Trail/Lawn Cutoff junction. From here I can clearly see the summit towers and buildings. I talk with a hiker heading to the summit as well. Reaching the top, there are folks passing me in their cars up the road as well as people piling off the cog. I avoid the hustle and bustle inside by entering through the obs entrance. The summit is back to its’ current self again, and I am going back to sleep until nighttime solitude returns once again.
Mike Finnegan, IT Observer