Thursday–September 23, 2021
Another grand stay at Galehead Hut. It was a much needed day of rest for me, yet one of urgent concern, as the weather conditions, especially the high winds, which remained constant, rattling windows and doors, kept driving heavy mist-laden clouds through the entire day.
A group of students from Indian River School came in just before supper. They’d hiked four miles up the mountain from a side trail (which Odie and I could well be hiking ourselves tomorrow). I offered and was given the privilege of presenting a program in the evening. An attentive, well-behaved and respectful group of youngsters. I told them a little about long distance hiking, especially along the Appalachian Trail. We had a good time!
The forecast for this day was anxiously awaited by all this morning. It was not what any of us wanted to hear, but not unexpected–continued high winds on the ridge, 20-40 mph, gusting to 70 mph. Hiking is nearly impossible if not outright dangerous under those conditions. No better outlook for tomorrow. Continued high winds with thunderstorms. This harsh weather is not relenting. Rather, conditions are expected to and are getting worse. Not much discussion needed. Odie and I, we’re getting off this mountain today. We’ll return and continue over Franconia Ridge another time when conditions are better.
The trail the school kids took to get up here connects to the AT a short distance past the hut. Eight o’clock, Odie and I take it and off the mountain we go, down, down, and down some more to the Gale River Trailhead. A shuttle by Odie’s friend, Marleen, gets us to his old bus. A stop in Lincoln (where dear friends Chickety & NeighborDave connect with us), then we all head over to the Hikers Welcome Hostel in Glencliff.
Fall is not just in the air anymore; the seasonal change is here. At the lower elevations the mountainsides reveal the beginnings of fall color. Fall’s always been my favorite season…
MA NATURE’S PAINTBRUSH
Ma Nature’s got her paintbrush out, Brushin’ o’er the green.
From her palette, every hue,
To brighten up the scene.
In red and orange and yellow,
She paints so brilliantly.
And there, a touch of umber,
She threw that in for me.
Now, what’s all this excitement?
It happens every fall.
It’s nothing but a rerun,
In case you don’t recall.
Well, we’ve seen the work of masters Hanging in our galleries.
But none can match Ma Nature’s hand, When She paints autumn’s trees.
Ahh, ’tis a magic time of year,
A spell cast over all
For all the seasons we hold dear,
The best, by far…is fall.
(N. Nomad 10/98)