The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go

Boston is a pretty awesome city, let me say. However, in the end Boston is still a city, and I can only handle so much of that in a week. So by Friday, I needed an escape BAD. Luckily, I only needed a couple hours of google research to find a national park nearby. So, yesterday my friend and I drove from Boston two hours north to the White Mountain National Forestin Central New Hampshire. We had no idea what we were going to do when we got there or where we were even going. Yet, we figured we’d wing it and see what would happen.

The White Mountains from atop Dickey Mountain

What ended up happening was the best introduction to the White Mountain National Forest that I could have hoped for. Deep blue skies presided over deep green mountains reminiscent of my own Great Smoky Mountains. I freaked out like a sorority girl in a guci store blowout sale. We took the 28 exit (off I-93) that had a sign for national park information. The building was tiny, but had enough information, and the guy working the counter was nice enough to suggest a small loop trail for us for the day.

The trail was 4.4 miles and had two peaks: Welsh Mountain and Dickey Mountain peaks. The first part was easy enough, densely covered with paper birch and red maples, and the trail’s edge was speckled with tons of different types of mushrooms. A stream paralleled us for the first quarter of the hike. I was yammering on and taking tons of pictures, probably driving my friend nuts with

A mushroom "holding up" the tree.

my dog-like excitement at EVERYTHING, but hey, I love the mountains, and I love being excited about them.

Speaking of dogs, we saw a good number of them on the trail. That’s right, they

were allowed on the trails! I absolutely loved that! They were all really well

behaved, and for the most part their owners picked up after them. I got to love on a few when their owners stopped for a rest; all I could think of the rest of the hike was how my little Lemon would have fallen in love with the hike.

Look closely, and you'll see Jon in the background

Anyway, before too long, we reached the top of the first peak, which provided us with a breathtaking view of Watertown and nearby peaks. My friend and I stayed there for a few minutes before continuing on, upon which we discovered the second peak was much higher up than the first. I did not pay attention to this detail, but I was definitely the only one. We decided to stop and have lunch before setting out for the second peak, and every group that passed us had at least one, if not the entire group, exclaim in less than happy surprise that a second peak loomed before them. One preteen boy even exclaimed, “Oh forget this, you can just push me down the other side of the mountain instead.”

However, looks can be deceiving, and reaching the second peak was not bad at all. We made it, chilled for a little bit, then began finishing the loop. We ended up hiking the last mile and a half with two other guys and had a ball talking with them. One of them confirmed my tree identification (and informed me that the paper birch was New Hampshire’s state tree–fun fact!), and the other was having a good time talking with my friend. We made it to the parking lot and said goodbye, my friend and I leaving back for Boston.

The drive home was filled with bluegrass music, a sunset sky, and the happy memory of my introduction to the White Mountains. It will definitely get me through this upcoming week of school, homework, work, and other life stresses (and joys, promise). That is, at least, until I return next Saturday.

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