|Ascutney glider launch platform|
Trails on Ascutney's slopes pass over large boulder fields and granite outcroppings, difficult to follow even with frequent blazes. At one point I turned back to ask a three generation group of local hikers for directions, which they easily provided -- just keep going until you get to the waterfall, etc. The senior hiker in their group then asked if I was headed up for the picnic on the summit -- annual Ascutney Trails Association picnic, yes, everyone's welcome! My motivation level and my water supply were running low, so I followed them up to the summit.
Small crowd of couples standing around eating and chatting while the kids and dogs charged around ... one woman greeted me and sent me over to sign in. I made a point of picking up an association brochure and putting a contribution into the donation box, then went over to refill my water bottle.
When I turned, another woman whose clear eyes outshone her silver-white hair introduced herself and asked if I was local. On hearing that I was visiting from Virginia, Barbara Rhoad thanked me for coming up "from Virginia!" just for their annual event, loudly enough so that everyone could hear. She then asked if I was doing anything else besides picnicking on mountaintops, so I admitted to being in the area for hang glider training. This excited her -- she had not seen glider pilots on the mountain for more than a year, she said, and missed watching them "jump off the edge" (run off, i politely averred). She especially missed holding the wing wires for those daring young men as they steadied their sails against the mountain winds ... and flew away.
Guessing that those young men could have found an invitation to home cooked meals at the family table if they had taken a few moments to be sociable, possibly even a place in the guest bedroom if they had been smart enough to dig up a collared shirt before arriving.
Barbara mentioned that she had been involved in setting up this annual summit picnic for 49 years, though she lets her children and grandchildren haul the food and water up the trail these days.
At day's end, the magic of GPS discovered a non chain coffee shop nearby for me, the Boston Dreams in Windsor (Boston Red Sox, of course. Waddaya, from Philly or sumthin? Don't say Noo Yuk.) The store manager noted my OBX shirt, and said she had enjoyed her visit to Kitty Hawk some years ago ... Kitty Hawk? Yes, and her brother had tried to get her to try hang gliding, but she had panicked at the point of launch and refused to go. I did my best to convince her that she should try again at Morningside, if only to one up her brother.
Woke to rain beating on the tent this morning, forecast to continue for the next two days. ¿Por qué es New England tan hermoso y verde? ¡Por supuesto! llueve mucho.
I will fly when I can.