Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tecumseh For The Second Time This Winter

Tecumseh is such a mystery to me. It is one of the least notable peaks of the 48 and even ranks as the shortest. To and from the summit is but five miles and there aren’t that many views. However, whenever I hike this smallest of the biggest I end up experiencing the peak as if it were one of the greatest in the world.

Today we started just before 3:00 in the afternoon, walked in through the naked January woods, up into the evergreens and out on the outlook abutting the ski slope with views to the Tripyramids. Then the climb starts. In the late afternoon shadows it felt like we were walking through a blue tunnel at times. This stretch of about a mile is steep and can’t help but catch my attention. It starts out steep, becomes less steep, and then in the final third of this stretch it grows steep again.

I stop often on this long uphill. I stop and breathe. Sometimes I stop and wonder just what I’m doing up here. Other times I stop and cuss. That’s the way it was today, slow going up the steeper parts; very slow going through the shadowy steep parts towards the top of that stretch.

Then suddenly we were high enough that we weren’t in the shadows anymore. And even the cold wind and cold temperature couldn’t mute the warmth of the wondrous afternoon sun as it poured through the trees to the west as we approached the summit cone. Ah, but I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

I always leave Tecumseh feeling better than I expect to when I start it. There’s just something mysterious about this little peak.

For those of you playing along in the music contest, a new game is starting with this slide show. For this one you just need to know the name of the song and who sings it. The photos and the music can be found here.