I can’t believe it had gotten to be August and Aubrey and I still had not made it up a “big mountain” yet for the year. There were multiple factors why, but probably the largest one was because Aubrey just didn’t want too. I don’t want to push her or force her into it so I would ask if she wanted to and if she answered “No” that was the end of the discussion. Last week I asked her if she wanted to hike a big one and she agreed, so my next step was to figure out a few options and let her pick which one she liked the sounds of best. She picked Pierce “Because it sounds like ear-pierce” odd reason but whatever I’ll go with it.
I planned it out for Friday, but forgot I had picked up a sleep shift Thursday night, which made me a bit nervous. Adding a Thursday night sleep shift in the mix means we wouldn’t get to Crawford Notch until 1030 at the absolute earliest. Yikes. Well imagine my joy when I found out the sleep shift position had been cancelled on Tuesday. That now meant we could leave by 6:30am! Perfect. Friday morning rolled around, and we were out the door by 6:30 and arrived in Crawford Notch just after 9am.
We set off pretty quickly and we were both moving along pretty good, enjoying the trail and the nice cool morning. We had just bought Aubrey a pair of Merrell trail runners so she walked with quite the pep in her step. The trail was surprisingly easy for a NH 4,000 footer. We made quick time on the way up, only pausing shortly for snacks or to talk to other hikers. We saw two different trail crews doing work and many groups heading down from Mitzpah Hut.
On the way up Aubrey was an endless chatterbox talking about anything and everything. My favorite conversation was her planning out her Dip Business. She wants to make dips. Boy Dips that feature tomatoes and Hot Sauce, Girl Dips that also feature tomatoes and hot sauce but also features cucumbers. She said once she makes them all using ALL THE BOWLS we have, we need to bring them to Market Basket so she can sell them for $22. She went on about her dip business for the better part of an hour.
Eventually we reached the alpine zone and the views started to pop out around the small trees. Then after one last little push we ended up on a large ledge just below the summit. We took the small turn up and reached an area just below the true summit. The views here were amazing so we opted to sit and eat lunch here and take some pictures. We met a few dogs here and I took pictures for other hikers and Aubrey insisted they take our picture. After finishing off our lunch, I told Aubrey to pick up her crust from her sandwich that she had left out in case a Gray Jay wanted a treat. (Yes I know, Leave No Trace, Don’t feed the wildlife but I was totally going to let her feed one just a bit if one appeared. We have two parakeets at home that mostly refuse our hands so if she had a chance to feed a wild bird from her hand I was going to allow it), we finished packing up and headed up to the true summit for an official picture.
At this point she had learned about the AMC Mitzpah Hut and that they have cookies, brownies and other goodies to buy. Well she wanted to check this out. This would add a few tenths of a mile to our hike but I figured why not. The hike down to the hut was incredibly rocky and steep, something both of us would have enjoyed more going up than going down. Aubrey liked this part of the trail, it had two ladders to climb down and so many bog boards to cross. It’s like they designed the trail just for her. As we hiked down to the hut I kept wondering where the heck it was. I figured I would have seen a sign or at least a glimpse of it, and then WHAM! Right out of nowhere it appeared practically right on top of the trail. We ventured inside to check out the bunks, used the bathrooms and then went to the kitchen/dining room. Oh boy, they were out of goodies! I was able to quickly move her out of the hut before she vented her anger that all the people lied to her to a hut full of guests. But that didn’t stop her from telling other hikers we met on the way down.
The way down both of us were getting pretty tired. Aubrey had entered into her overly cautious state and was moving a slow as molasses. Our morale was declining pretty good. So I pulled out the bag of peanut butter M&Ms and gave her a handful to munch on. Just as she finished her last M&M a man we had seen a few times that day was hiking back up the trail. “Just the girls I was looking for” he said. I was confused at first but he seemed excited. He then presented Aubrey with a huge Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookie. He then explained he works as a truck driver for the AMC and that when he heard that they didn’t have cookies at the hut, that when he finished his hike, we walked across the road to the AMC Highland Center got her a cookie and then hiked it back out the almost mile to us! I was absolutely blown away by this. This guy on his day off, did this for a young girl he had never met. I couldn’t thank him enough! It was just what we needed to get through the last leg of the hike. I really regret not getting his name! But to the AMC BRAVO! The passion the employees have is absolutely amazing. This guy deserves a raise!
The rest of the hike down was uneventful as Aubrey munched away at her cookie happily and was sure to tell every other hiker she saw about how everyone lied to her about cookies at the hut and then how the nice guy got her one. We arrived back at the trail head at 430 and started our drive home. We both were tired, but feeling proud that we accomplished our 3rd NH 4000 footer!