Sunrise at Camel’s Hump.
I’m happy to report that my hike for Climate justice went off over the weekend without any major hitches. George (our driver) and Tom (the experienced CamelsField hiker) left Camel’s Hump parking lot at 3:15am by headlamp. Five minutes later I led us off-trail into the mud. The sun was just rising as we summited Camel’s Hump. Before George left us to return to his car, he generously loaned me his fleece gloves as we predicted we’d need them on Mansfield later that day.
Descending the Bamforth Ridge we enjoyed the golden hour as the sun rose. About 11am we met 4 hikers in their sixties who were “plodding” (their word) up Bolton Mountain amidst the blackflies. When we described where we had come from, and where we were going, one of the gentlemen asked to shake our hands. I enjoyed the rockstar moment.
By the time we hit Puffer shelter for lunch, I was feeling a little achy. Tom, the ultramarathoner, served me a cocktail of salt tablets, magnesium and tylenol, and after resting for a half hour with my feet up and shoes off I was rejuvenated. About 4:30pm we rounded a bend to see Kim (my wife)! She had hiked up a side trail, bringing us another pair of gloves and some more snacks. She hiked with us for a spell and then headed down to avoid the impending showers.
We were unsure if the rain would keep us off of the Mount Mansfield ridgeline, but Tom checked the radar, and more importantly, we could clearly spot the showers by looking out toward the horizon. No thunderstorms were forecast, so we headed up into the 20mph winds and occasional rain. It never ceases to amaze me how we can be hiking in t-shirts all day and then turn a corner and need to put on a fleece, raincoat and gloves.
We had a quick dinner in the lee of a summit building, where I was relieved to find that the growing throbbing in my ankle was caused not by achilles pain, but the ankle brace itself. Easy solution to that– I took it off. We reached the summit of Mansfield at 8pm. The descent to Underhill state park was very steep and slow over wet rocks, uneventful except for a spectacular head- over- heels fall which, according to Tom’s analysis, I “executed perfectly” by rolling when I hit the ground. I would like to say that was intentional. I had a few scrapes but was remarkably unscathed.
A year ago I thought I could never do a hike like this at age 52. I thought my legs might just seize up, or that I wouldn’t be able to walk the next day. But having trained and getting some good coaching from Tom, I really pushed my limits beyond what I thought was possible. And this is where the challenge of climate change comes in. We can mobilize to address the climate crisis, if we have the will. All of you who have donated have been part of that mobilization. Thank you.
I’ve now raised nearly $3300 toward my $3500 goal. Please donate to help me get over the line! If you do, I’ll send you a 2 minute video of the journey. And if you join the group of 18 people who have already donated $100 or more, I’ll send you 12 home baked chocolate chip cookies. And not some slice and bake cheapos. Something like these.