Upon awakening Friday morning I thought that I had Lyme disease. Joints ached, they barely could bend. I felt a bit of brain fog – actually, a lot of it. Having dealt with the autoimmune mysteries and Lyme before, and being far from my little bit of doxy at home, I thought I might call it a day and head home. The other option was to push through to enjoy the opportunity the day presented. We chose the latter.
We loaded up backpacks and water bottles, and headed to Rattlesnake Mountain. People at our friends' timeshare had suggested Rattlesnake as a short and relatively easy hike. Google told me otherwise. Neither told me right off that there are two Rattlesnake Mountains in New Hampshire. We wanted West Rattlesnake in Holderness.
Finding West Rattlesnake is easy. It's a short, well-trafficked, nicely maintained trail. Unfortunately, the ascent started immediately, and gave me no time to loosen my tight joints. On the old bridle trail we met a few people ascending or descending; not too many. The trail itself shows signs of popularity and love. There are many 4x4s crossing the trail near the base, helping to prevent further erosion. My issue with them was that these short legs were not enjoying the high rise of each step that day.
On our hike up I thought of our friend R.J. who will be starting his college studies in an environmental science this fall. How grateful I am for the people who dedicate their lives to protecting our water, land, air, animals, food, and vistas! I wondered how much his studies would take him to outdoor laboratories and how much would be in books and on computers. I hope both.
As we approached the summit I first thought it was somewhat rude that people had commandeered the top as their own concert hall. With five minutes yet to walk, we heard faint music and a little clapping. My impression changed when we reached the summit and we were graced with beautiful music and joyful appreciative faces enjoying a planned concert in a spectacular location. How delightful for us to unknowingly happen upon this event! Thank you, to clarinetists Bill Kalinkos and Amy Advocat of the New Hampshire Music Festival, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NHMusicFestival and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/nhmusicfest/. Your talents brought us great joy.
What if you don't love music? The top of Rattlesnake has something for everyone. The views of Squam Lake and its islands are uplifting. There was a happiness among the other hikers. And then there was Ruthie.
Tish rescued Ruthie from a Texas shelter. From the start, Tish recognized Ruthie as an "old soul." Old soul or young one, Ruthie is precious! It didn't take us long to take a seat with her and enjoy her sweetness. Tish is a principal at a regional consignment shop with great reviews and appreciative customers. I need to visit on my next time north. I wondered how she could hike with a dog on a leash, a pretty dress and supportive sandals. (I'll take hiking boots any day.) Tish made it look easy. She and Ruthie encountered a bear on their trip up. The late hour of the day and possibility of the bear's presence gave us cause to pursue a quick trip down.
Although we like to explore new hikes and areas, Rattlesnake is one place to which we'd return. However, the magic of the musical surprise couldn't be repeated. So, maybe we'll just check the music festival's calendar in advance the next time.
Fortunately, my fear of Lyme was unfounded. A little hike, natural beauty, a musical surprise, two new friends, and a better night's sleep can cure much. Thank you, Rattlesnake Mountain.
Thanks also to the pool and hot tub, and most of all, the friends who shared their timeshare.
Do you have a favorite hike with a beautiful vista in New England? Feel free to list it in a comment below. :-)
Technical note: The images on this blog are correctly anchored when opened with some web browsers. Last night, there was a (temporary?) glitch with another browser. Please double click on the images in order to enjoy the full view.