But even these little buggers didn’t take too much enjoyment away from our trek.
At five miles, it was the longest walk I’ve been on since getting out of the hospital in May. It was also the longest hike Samwise has been on. Going forward, we won’t do a hike more than five miles until next summer, when Samwise’s body is more mature and ready for the arduous hikes. But from here on we’ll also start adding elevation gain. I’ve noticed from the little bit I’ve encountered lately, that this is my biggest challenge. The distance of yesterday's hike didn’t wear me out at all, but the elevation we’ll be facing this week surely will.
This place is special to me. For when Atticus and I became less intense in our hiking, we started hiking to places that offered beauty more than accomplishment. I imagine we walked out to Cherry Pond at least twenty times. We’d laze by the water eating together and taking in the scenery. Sometimes we’d sit for hours at a time.
So it made sense that this was the first of many places I will be leaving some of his ashes. A pinch of ashes, and some of his favorite peanut butter crackers. Next week Samwise and I will hike to another of Atti’s favorite places with another pinch of his stardust and some more crackers.
As for Samwise, he’s developing into a fine hiking partner. He keeps his eyes on me, even though he walks ahead. He never gets too far off and if I stop, he also stops, just as Atticus used to do. I was even more pleased that he didn’t leave the trail yesterday though surely tempted by all kinds of squeaks and chattering in the brush. He’d look back at me and I’d say to him, “Please don’t, Samwise.”
Although the water view along Big Cherry Pond is one of the unheralded treats in the mountains, what I find to be most special is the trail leading to Little Cherry Pond. The forest has enchantment in it. Old Man’s Beard dangles from trees. Dead trees lie sprawled across the mossy floor. Tiny saplings spring to life among their decaying ancestors. And the ferns! They are lush and thick and if you have half an imagination, you can almost sense the stirring of wood nymphs and little people as they make their way around the greenery and the mushrooms.
In my opinion, this stretch of woodland ranks as one of the top ten in the White Mountains and it is reason enough to return again and again.
|Beyond the first pond, there is a side trail 0.6 miles long that leads to this spot,|
on observation platform for Little Cherry Pond.
|This location along Big Cherry Pond offers to me a|
perfect representation of summer. We sat here for a while
to nibble an apple and drink some water.
|Samwise is getting bigger. He arrived weighing 31 pounds|
two months ago. He's now up to 45 pounds, with 6 of them
added in the last two weeks.
|One of the highlights from Big Cherry Pond is the view north to Mount Starr|
King (the point to the left) and Mount Waumbek (the high point), an underrated 4,000-footer.
|Yes, Samwise, we'll be climbing it soon enough. Owl's Head and Mount Martha|
offers the rare glimpse of the entire Presidential Range and great photo opportunities.
|For now, this is a rare sighting. But it is a harbinger of things to come.|
|On the trail words are not as important to me|
as is eye contact. Samwise is already proving
to be a fine hiking partner.