Sunday, January 10, 2016

And the winner is. . .

My daughter in law, Jen, correctly named the mystery person in yesterday's blog post. . . my friend, Nancy.

Nancy and I go back a long way!  Like 40+ years!  The picture above was taken of the two of us (that's her on the left) back in the early 90's on a trail in the Adirondacks of New York State on a weekend backpacking trip.

We watched each other's children grow up and have children of their own.  We have backpacked, paddled, day hiked all over New York State together over the years.  I could write a book on all the fun times we've had together.

We were on a week long backpacking trip many years ago.  Nancy brought along a 2 pound link of German sausage for part of our food supply.  I really didn't care for it and it was a heavy load to carry. . . when you are backpacking, ounces count!!!  For a couple of days, we took turns carrying it in our pack.  One day on the trail, we met an older couple who were on a three week backpacking trip of the Northville-Lake Placid trail.  As soon as this couple spoke, it was obvious they were German!

Nancy and I looked at each other in amazement!  Nancy said to them, "We have this heavy link of German sausage which we aren't going to eat.  Would you like it?"

The look on their face spoke volumes!  They were thrilled.  As long distance hikers, their diet consisted of rice cakes and freeze dried food. . . all lightweight rations!  They were glad to take the sausage and we were really glad to be free of the weight!!!

One year, we spent several days in the Lake Placid area of of the Adirondacks in the middle of January, when it is freezing cold and plenty of snow on the ground.  We decided to climb Cascade (one of the High Peaks) on snowshoes.  The conditions were more appropriate for ice "claws" on your feet than snowshoes.  But we headed up anyway.  

Near the top we came to a wide area with about a 45 degree incline that was a sheet of ice.  We were so close to the top that I was not about to turn back.  "Come on, Nancy, we can do this!"

I won't repeat her litany of words at that point, but let's just say she wasn't too happy with me!  "Oh, hell, Nancy.  If we slip, we are only going to fall into that heavy mass of evergreens at the bottom. . . that may even be fun."

Repeating a string of, let's say, not too polite words aimed at me, she slowly crawled to the top, while I was behind another evergreen at the top rolling in the snow trying not to let her hear me laughing at her.

The view from the summit was beautiful that day, well worth the effort to get there.

"Okay, (expletive deleted) so how are we going to get down that one section?" She still was angry with me!

"I don't know, we'll make it up as we go along, " I answered, avoiding her dagger eyes aimed at me!

As luck would have it, a young man came along with ice climbing gear.  "Oh!  that is the fun part," he replied when we told him we didn't know how to get down that sheet of ice.  Obviously, this young man had much more experience with these things than we did.

He pulled out an ice climbing tool from his pack, sat down, held the point of the tool into the ice and slowly slid down, quickly climbed back up (I told you he was more experienced and prepared than we were!) and did it again.  Nancy and I couldn't wait to try this.

"Here, now you try it."

Needless to say, we truly enjoyed that day. . . and I promise, I never said to Nancy, "I told you so!"

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