This year’s edition of the Memorial Day weekend training camp in the Adirondacks started inauspiciously. Three days before we drove north, I had the good fortune to get sick. I don’t know whether I caught something from someone, or, now that I’m back to a regular job, my body will no longer tolerate the candle being burned at both ends.
I might post about the weekend’s roller ski escapades later; this weekend, our big goal was Cascade Mountain. My daughter loves skiing, and she used to like walking in the woods. But for the last few years she hadn’t been interested in it. She’d profess profound boredom, fatigue, anything to avoid a hike. Frustrated, I attributed her attitude to the fact that she was doing this stuff with her parents, and not with any other kids.
On Saturday night, I said to her, “I am aware that you’re totally capable of going up Cascade.”
After a big breakfast on Sunday morning, we set off from the trail head on Route 73. Creeping on to the list of the 46 at 4098 feet, Cascade is far from the biggest mountain in the High Peaks. At five miles round trip, it’s not a long day for a grownup. But when you’re eight years old, it’s a whole different story.
On an unseasonably warm, humid day, Laurel led us the whole way up the mountain. Periodically, we stepped aside so that other groups could go by us. No need for a speed contest today. She didn’t complain about the black flies, or her feet, totally wet after going a mile and a half. Unlike a young woman who accosted us where a herd path to a viewpoint veered from the marked trail – “Which is the way to the top?” (I resisted the urge to reply, Duh, isn’t that a trail marker 10 feet away on the path that’s as wide as an interstate?) – Laurel used good judgement and kept her eye on the trail markers.
Laurel began to flag a bit when we reached the big open rock face below the summit. But when we reached the treeline and she saw the summit, she broke into a run. Laden with 2 quarts of water, food, a camera and outerwear, I labored to keep up with her. There are a couple of slightly exposed moves that had me concerned. But she clambered right over them with no problem, and a few minutes later we were on the summit. I worried about whether the wind was blowing hard enough to launch a 50-pound kid off the ground, but fortunately that didn’t happen. I am so proud of her, I can’t tell you.
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