today was one of those amazing days that i want to preserve forever. if only you could put those days in little snow globes so that you could pick them up, look at them and remember why it was that the day meant so much to you at the time.
my sister and i hiked mt. moosilauke with my chief resident and his girlfriend, who also happens to be an old med school friend. from the ravine lodge, we hiked up the gorge brook trail to the summit. it's a steep hike up but so incredibly beautiful. there's something so amazing about how the vegetation changes from tall, dense pines and birches to the wind-stunted dwarfs at tree line. it was not the best day for views, but that didn't seem to matter, as there was a mystical, blue-purple haze that gave everything a somewhat ethereal hue.
we sat on the rocks at the summit and ate nutella and pretzels. there's nothing quite like chocolate at the top of a mountain. french fries might be better, but i've never been able to find them in such a place.
we hiked down the carriage road (beware the poison ivy!) to snapper, re-entering the dense, lush forest. so many wildflowers blooming, growing in the crevices of the rocks that lined the trail. i wish i remembered more botanical names from my undergrad ecology labs, but they have been replaced with the names of muscles and nerves and bones. for some reason, bird calls have stuck in my memory, though. white throated sparrows were in abundance, singing heartily as we entered their territory. i've always loved their call, so plaintive and almost melancholy.
at the convergence of snapper and gorge brook, there's the class of '97 swimming hole. the water as deliciously cold and made my tired feet feel so much better. i splashed the water over my face and head, feeling the freezing rivulets drip down my neck. nothing quite like it in all the world. it was almost torture to put my shoes back on for the walk up the hill to the parking area.
the last time i was at moosilauke was late fall. the lodge was deserted and it had already started snowing. yesterday, however, the lodge was full of summer staff and visitors, the sweet smell of cornbread lingering in the air. there was a man with dreadlocks playing guitar, trying to learn a song before tonight's 4th of July celebration perhaps.
we filled up our now empty water bottles and headed back, stopping at fat bob's for ice cream. to give you a sense of why it's called fat bob's, a baby size is 1 scoop, kid size 2 scoops, small 3 scoops, medium 4 scoops and large 5 scoops. no wonder americans are overweight. i got a twist with rainbow sprinkles. a little girl in line behind us said excitedly to her mother, "she got rainbow sprinkles!" i remember being that excited for rainbow sprinkles once upon a time.
after a late afternoon nap, my sister and i went to watch the fireworks. it was really quite impressive. greens and golds, red, white and blue, pinks and purples all showering over the river, the boom echoing loudly off the hillsides. during the finale, the song "born in the USA" was blasting over the loudspeaker. my sister and i both looked at each other and wondered why they chose that song, as the lyrics are not the most glowing portrait of life in this country. but i guess as long as the chorus is catchy, what does it matter?
all told, it was a cleansing, restorative and grounding day...reminding me of my own, innate independence and strength and also of my inextricable link to the earth and the people in my life whom i love dearly. i think i'll have to make this a new july 4th tradition.