This adventure starts a bit differently as I have been challenging myself to push the envelope of my comfort bubble. The simplest things to other humans on this planet challenge me and make me extremely nervous, anxious and uncomfortable. Something as simple as a drive-thru fast food pickup, or a new store/location. Recent life events put a target on how I remain deep in my comfort bubble and frankly I am embarrassed about my past and am pushing to be a me I can be happy with in the future.
During the last month I’ve been hiking the 4000 footers in Vermont and been inviting others to join. This weekend another hiker joined me to climb Mount Abraham in Lincoln Vermont. We made our ascent along the Long Trail and the familiar white blazes reminded me again of my adventures on the Appalachian Trail and I shared some of those stories with my new friend.
The trail started up right out of the gate, but also had areas of rest that flattened off to a slight grade. There was a sign recommending hikers to not short-cut the switchbacks as doing so damages the surrounding area. A switchback is where the trail goes back and forth along the side of the mountain making for a longer but less steep path. I was looking forward to this after Mount Mansfield and Camels Hump basically had stair-stepping the entire way.
There were no switchbacks along the way, and the second half of Mount Abraham consisted of a fair bit of stair-stepping, and a tiny bit of scramble as you got within the last 5% of the top. Turning around on those scrambles displayed the gains in elevation as you could see clearly over the trees, but might want to give warning to those weary of heights!
Along the way up we stopped for a small snack break, and to catch breath and relax. I happened to be eating goldfish straight from the bag. A few hikers coming up the trail mentioned how I was holding the bag for a well placed billboard/ad for goldfish. Upon reflection, it couldn’t have been at a better angle, and was entirely innocent… Pepperidge Farm, contact my agent for sponsorship deals! Once at the top those hikers were up there and I overheard the conversation how at least one of them travelled from South Africa and had never tried goldfish, so I offered them my bag and they took a handful “Like cheesy little crackers.”
At the summit there are actually two summit markers and apparently Mount Abraham used to have the name Potato Hill as found on the older of the two markers. Not far down the other side of the summit was some of the ruins of a small Cessna plane that crashed June 28th, 1973.
The descent was on my mind the entire week leading up to this hike. I bought some compression sleeves for my knees which were highly recommended and they seemed to do the trick. I don’t know what magic is going on there but I had zero knee issues even though the hike was very similar to Camel’s Hump two weeks ago that left me hobbling up the stairs when I got back to my apartment. No more knee issues!!!
Perhaps other hikers will join in the future, and for now I will continue exploring; nature, mountains, boundaries, and myself.