Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Hampshire - the opening Aria

... in which our hero reluctantly abandons Vermont after a most serendipitous meeting with Trail Angels 'Short 'n' Sweet' and 'Gray Beard', plunges into the maddening big-city chaos of Hanover, and bursts free of the shackles of civilization in a triumphant return to the Woods.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012:

'Short 'n' Sweet' only walks to work on Tuesdays.  She leaves early.  But first she puts out the day's Trail Magic.

I would only walk Elm Street in Norwich very early today - 6AM southbound and then 7AM on the way back.  It was foggy.  It rained a deluge last night.

Elm Street is where the house that 'Short 'n' Sweet' and 'Gray Beard' built with their own hands sits in a serene rural neighborhood.  I'll let my entry in their street-side register book tell the first part of the story:

I was sitting there writing this at 7AM on my way back into Norwich when 'Gray Beard' came out, headed to work, and approached me.  We had a nice chat, mostly about all the other log-book entries - a dozen or more of my trail friends stopped here in the past 5 weeks:  Achilles, Patches, Tetris, Bomber, Pretzel, Spiral and Swivel ... the list seems endless.

I did not expect to meet these gentle folk as I passed their home at such an indecent hour.  I'm blessed.

And that was Vermont's bitter-sweet swan-song.  Off I headed across the orb-festooned Connecticut River Bridge and into the big city bustle of college-town Hanover.  I was instantly smothered by the noise and chaos, and close to shriveling in the heat.

Does that look like the Appalachian Trail??  Fortunately the urban gauntlet lasted only a few blocks.  And after passing the Dartmouth football stadium and various lesser athletic fields, I finally entered the cool of the New Hampshire woods.

Even then, the trail seemed crumpled and baleful for the first couple miles over Velvet Rocks - too close to the big city, I suspect.  Then it settled down and showed me some of the exquisite beauty that this bright day had to offer - a boardwalk over a cattail swamp was first.

Then a farewell view of Killington from a placid high meadow:

It was a day that made me want to sing:

"O Sole Mio!"
Che bella cosa e` na giornata 'e sole
n'aria serena dopo na tempesta!
Pe' ll'aria fresca pare giĆ  na festa
Che bella cosa e` na giornata 'e sole.
"My Sunshine" 

What a beautiful thing is a sunny day!
The air is serene after a storm,
The air is so fresh that it already feels like a celebration.
What a beautiful thing is a sunny day!

Here's a map of the route taken today, with the elevation profile following:

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