Rocks are dependable. They are solid, strong, unbreakable. They don’t surprise you, or disappoint you, they are just there. There are lots of people who might be described by using those same words. But in the case of this particular rock, and many people, we are just looking at the surface and making assumptions about the core. Were I to drop this particular rock it would fracture into pieces, a lot like I was feeling I might do not too long ago. Careful hands have reassembled this rock, and in much the same way I am somehow feeling pieced back together after my visit home. We are both still fragile, but then aren’t we all?
No, not down Mexico way. If you’ve ever driven through NC/SC on Route 95 you’ve seen the billboards starring Pedro, LOTS of them. Less now than the endless signs back in the day however. Charley’s family used to vacation in either Canada or Florida when he was a kid, and when they headed to Florida they stayed at South of the Border, so he wanted to stop there when we drove to Florida in 1988. Because of that trip I knew that you park in a covered carport that is right outside the door to your room, a perfect feature for when you are traveling alone. And then there was Ozzie, and I also knew that they accept dogs, no weight limits thank goodness. So, tacky as it may be I had to stop there, it was a no brainer. That left me an 8 hour drive the next day, not to mention that I knew it would be lit up perfectly and I could get some photos. The bed must have been comfortable since I sat on it with the computer to relax for a minute and woke up 3 hours later, having missed the sunset all together. But the lights were still on at least, so Oz and I went out for a photo walk…
I’m not sure why but my GPS took me on a route I’d never been on when I left Cape Cod last Wednesday. I was happy it did because I noticed a pretty little harbor and stopped for photos. The boats were all at anchor, it struck me as a sleepy little place. Only later did I notice that I was in the town of Weymouth, MA. Weymouth, where a policeman was killed recently during a routine traffic stop, along with an innocent woman killed in her home in the same incident. Sleepy and peaceful for days, and weeks, and years, but not immune to the craziness that we see on the news all the time. Even in the aftermath it’s hard to imagine that such horrific things can and do happen in such lovely places.
I will admit that I had high hopes for this road trip. High enough hopes that I scared myself a little. Would it live up to my impossible expectations? And I’m happy to say that yes, yes it has. And still I wander…
When you go to the Franconia Notch area of New Hampshire and buy a ticket to visit the Flume Gorge you will see that there is a deal available and you may decide to also buy a ticket to ride the tram to the top of Cannon Mountain. What a spectacular view of the distant mountain ranges, which the guide said included NH, VT, NY and even Quebec. I can only show you photos, but can’t say which mountains you are viewing. I just know that they are beautiful. Is it any wonder that my old friend has permanently lost his heart to these mountains?
The trees on top of the mountain aren’t particularly tall, but I wouldn’t have noticed that on my own. My own personal mountain man guide says that it’s because the snow and wind breaks off the tops of the trees. And then I saw what he meant.
Canon Mountain was also the home of the Old Man of the Mountain, an image and name that I knew from childhood, but never saw in person. I snapped this photo of a poster just as we were hopping onto the tram, because seeing the rock formation that formed the ‘face’ makes you understand how it came to fall in 2003. This next from Wikipedia;
The Old Man first became famous largely because of statesman Daniel Webster, a New Hampshire native, who once wrote: “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”
New Hampshire sunsets happen behind layers of mountains, but if you are lucky you see the sky light up before it’s done altogether.
On Saturday we found the trails I was looking for on Friday, when we made a last minute decision to go to the Flume Gorge. With it’s wooden walkways, and an 800 foot gorge, it sounded like a beautiful sight to see. And while there was a nice trail to follow to get to the walkway, that trail was straight uphill. The struggle to get up the hill was real, and the fellow hikers were encouraging to each other as we made our way up the hill. Fortunately there were benches and boulders to sit on to rest as you headed ever upward. I thought that instead of climbing every mountain we were sitting on every bench, and when I said that out loud I heard a few people around us laugh in agreement. Here and there along the way we saw people who had gone off the trails and made their way onto the boulders in the river, usually for photo ops. (Not me, I had my hands full just getting up the hill). And there was one guy who was doing his darnedest to make a rock pyramid by trying to balance a triangular rock on one of it’s points and get it to stay long enough to take a picture. It was giving him lots of trouble, that was obvious, so we kept on with our climb, but when we reached an overlook the people up there were excited because they could see that this guy had succeeded. There he was down below in the gorge, taking pictures of his creation. I have no idea how he managed this feat, if smaller rocks were helping to keep it in place, or possibly mud? It’s a mystery.
That this gorge was discovered in 1808 by a 93 your old woman who happened across it while fishing is especially amazing to think about. I’ll bet there weren’t any benches for her to sit on back in her day. And I ought to mention that there is a bus available that will take you up the trail to the walkway, and back down. But we are tough, or possibly just stubborn, we made it on our own…