Fitting 48 mountains into 90 days is no easy task; there’s not a huge margin for error to account for weather, illness or injury.
So I’ve been planning obsessively. My calendar has been filled in and erased dozens of times; my AMC maps are worn from being folded and (poorly) refolded every few days. I’ve calculated trail distances and elevation gains and tried to figure out the perfect way to meet my goal.
That obsession bled into my spring training. My intention was to do a series of hikes that started modestly, gradually adding height and distance. By summer, I hoped, the climbing would be much less taxing. I even dared to dream it would be easy at times.
That plan went out the window Monday.
Luke and I had planned to hike Hedgehog Mountain in Albany
before we learned the trail was still somewhat slushy and icy. Casting about for a substitute, I settled on South Moat, a more difficult hike, on a par with some of the easier 4,000 footers we’ll encounter this summer.
That morning, I tried to downplay the difference in the two hikes to the boy, fearing he’d want nothing to do with a tougher hike.
I was wrong. We had a great day in the woods. The trail was dry, the sun was bright, the sky was so crisp and clear you could see the buildings at the top of Mt. Washington. We even ran into some friends at the summit.
At the bottom, I confessed to the boy that I had taken him on a tougher hike than we had planned for.
“I know,” he said. “I knew this morning.”
“And you didn’t complain?” I asked.
“It’s hiking,” he said. “I always figure it will be steep, no matter what we do.”
How very Zen, my little Buddhist.
That’s going to be my new motto. Training and planning is important, but there’s only so much you can do. At some point, you have to let go and accept that “it will be steep.”
It may even rain once or twice.