Avalon, A-Z, and Mt. Tom Spur Trails. 5.8 miles roundtrip.
Last Tuesday, Sage officially threw her hat into the 4K ring. We were meeting one of Hugh's long-time acquaintances, David, for lunch; Alex excused herself to go to the restroom, and I got up to show her where it was. While Alex and I were gone, Sage told David that she wants to hike all the White Mountain 4Ks.
This announcement came as a shock for a couple of reasons. First, I'm amazed she spoke to David at all. Sage is painfully shy around those she does not know; this was her first time meeting David. Second, she's never before expressed an interest in hiking all 48 NH4Ks. A few here and there, for specific reasons, yes. But all 48? Nope.
Later that day, I asked Sage if she was serious. Yes, she was. However, "I don't want to hike every week, just when I feel like it."
So I guess Sage is now officially a peakbagger, though she's in no rush so I've no idea how long she'll take to complete the quest. I'll just continue to follow her lead and take her whenever she says she wants to go.
This weekend was one of those times; she really wanted to hike Wildcat D via the ski slopes. However, the forecast called for 50 mph winds and subfreezing temperatures; we would have been awfully exposed walking up Polecat...therefore, we opted for sheltered Mt. Tom instead.
The stroll along the Avalon Trail was mellow; we made good time and were by the intersection with the A-Z before we knew it.
After taking a short break and consuming some liquid sugar, we headed up the next section of (steep) trail.
A mile later, we came to the Mt. Tom Spur.
Another short break, and it was on to the summit...but first, Sage took this picture of a tree that, in her opinion, resembled a chair.
Up we went, hiking the final half mile...
...stepping over a tiny bit of ice (some of which Sage proudly displays below)...
...until we reached the summit and viewpoint.
First, the viewpoint...
Then, the actual summit.
Interestingly, during our ascent, Sage showed little recollection of the first time we attempted Mt. Tom, back in the summer of 2008. Alex, Sage and I were caught in a nasty thunderstorm close to the summit -- I wrote about it later that same day on the Mt. Washington Forums. http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?4070-Lessons-from-Mt.-Tom
I'm thankful that Sage hiked with her usual pace and style today; the frightening experience of two years ago left no lasting negative impression.
After eating her fill of goldfish crackers on the cairn, Sage decided it was time to go. We met a few interesting characters on our way down the spur trail.
Val and forestgnome...
There were a million people at the intersection with the A-Z Trail. They seemed to have brought the Gray Jays with them...Sage got a kick out of watching them do their thing.
More crackers, more water, then down down down.
Rocket21, Val, and forestgnome caught up with us near the trailhead. Sage became her excruciatingly shy self and hiked ahead of us, refusing to speak to the adults (sorry folks, don't take it personally).
Sage was happy and proud of herself, and I think the day went well. This was just the right amount of mileage and elevation gain (2100 feet) for her; Sage never complained of being too tired. However, I do think she was ready to rest when we got back to the car. By the time we pulled into our driveway, she looked like this:
Looking forward to the next adventure with my youngest, whenever/wherever that may be.