Several years ago (my then future husband) Bill invited me to join him and three of his children on a hiking trip. I had no experience with hiking and had only a vague notion of the physical expectations, but with my sweetheart’s encouragement and, after some internet research, I accepted (cautiously) to join him to climb Mount Washington, New Hampshire.
First, I should tell you that Mount Washington is a serious mountain! The weather is very changeable and the terrain is ROCKY. You need to be prepared and to dress sensibly and be ready to add layers of clothing as you near its summit. That being said, we had a lovely start to our hike with good weather and a lot of energy. Unfortunately, I may have worn too much at the beginning, and all I felt was hot and sweaty. I didn’t enjoy being so hot, but I wanted to be a good sport and do my best to deal with it. Actually, knowing me, I probably complained a bit! It was then that I started to wonder if I hadn’t bit off more than I could chew…
Next, I am not exaggerating when I say the terrain is rocky. We took the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail and I was blown away by how much rock we walked on. The trail was paved with rock. My feet have not forgotten! And it doesn’t get any better as you climb. There are areas with less rock and beautiful mountain streams and scenic vistas, but as you reach higher elevations the rocks just get BIGGER. I wish I had been in better physical condition for this hike because the rocks and the climbing were very hard on my knees. We took some little rests along the way, but it never got any easier.
I’ll spare you all the details (hours worth) and share with you that the saving grace in all this was my sweetheart. He listened to my complaints, carried my backpack, and steadily encouraged me each step of the way. He especially supported me as we entered the last stretch of our hike. Each time we looked up, we thought we would see the final ridge, only to realize that there was yet another ridge above that one. As it got later in the day and the air became colder, we were eager to reach the summit and conclude our hike. And of course, it was difficult to say when that would be. When we heard the whistle of the final cog rail train sound, we knew that we would not be going down the mountain that way. That was a very anxious moment!
But my sweetheart urged me and his son, Matt on and we made it to the summit. What a fantastic feeling to make it to the top; to know that we conquered (what was for me) a difficult path and that we did it together! Since that time I have thought about the ways that my husband and I have supported and encouraged each other in our marriage, taking turns carrying the weight when the other was struggling. That’s what makes the journey worthwhile, knowing that we can enjoy it and experience it together.
Today is our seventh wedding anniversary and I am so very happy to be married to my husband, Bill. To him I say, “I love you and thank you for believing in me always, listening to me and giving me your love and support.”
Oh, and also, “I don’t think I’ll be climbing Mount Washington again any time soon!” ;-) “But you knew that.”
In case you are wondering, when we got to the summit, we were too late – everything was closed. We thought we were going to have to walk down the road that cars drive to the summit. Who knows how long that would have taken?! By sheer luck, there was a man driving a flatbed truck who was there to remove some bad machinery from the observatory and he was just starting to drive down when Matt jumped in front of his truck and signaled him to stop. We convinced him to let us ride on the back of the truck all the way down. It took 45 minutes to come down at a crawl! To that driver I say, “Thank you, a million times. You cannot know how much we appreciated your being there at just the right moment. And thanks for snapping the photo!”