I celebrated turning 50 with 3 friends a month before my actual birthday. It was one of those perfect days in October - warm, sunny with little powder puff clouds floating in a bright blue sky. We decided to take a ride to Mt. Kearsage State Park in Warner, New Hampshire, not far from where we were staying in Newbury, the next town over. There is a dispute if the Civil War vessel, U.S.S. Kearsage was named after the peak. They are still debating that question today. We drove past the Indian museum on our way to the parking lot. There were 3 large white teepees with Indians dressed in all their regalia on the outside grounds. We were going to stop but decided to do it on the way back. We were anxious to hike the Rollins Trail. This was going to be A Personal Best, first time ever for me to hike 2,937 ft. to the top of Mt. Kearsage. The trail was moderate in the beginning but became more hazardous and rocky as we ascended to the peak. Halfway there I asked myself why am I doing this, I’m afraid of heights! I guess I got caught up in the moment. On our ascent we occasionally came across other hikers. I was amazed to see young children hiking up with their parents; even babies riding on the backs of their parents. Along-side of us were older people too with their L.L. Bean hiking boots and walking sticks. We were all happily chatting as we carefully climbed over rocks. It became more treacherous as we got closer to the top. I don’t know what I expected but was surprised that, once at the top, all I saw was solid rock and at least 50 people of all different ages sitting there, sunning themselves. The rock was curved but not smooth, requiring further scrambling to get to the highest spots. The scenery was fantastic. A slight warm breeze ruffled the multi-colored trees down below. You could see for miles around to Wilmot and Warner plus other villages in New Hampshire. Anchored to the very top was a fire tower which my friends immediately decided to climb. I wasn’t going to push it. It looked scary to me even though it was secured to the rock. I had reached the summit and I was exhilarated and had the biggest smile on my face. At near 50 I DID IT! Not one of us brought a camera for that KODAK moment. What a disappointment. There were a lot of experienced climbers but this was my first hike to the top and I felt like I had conquered the world. I experienced a spiritual connection with the universe – a natural high! It goes to show you are never too old to learn new things and conquer your fears. Boy, you certainly get thirsty and work up a sweat climbing. Now I know why you bring protein bars, lots of water and a change of clothes. Other hikers had picnic baskets and were eating their lunch on the rock. Umm, why didn’t we bring any lunch? Luckily we did bring some water with us. Going down was easy but we were all exhausted and hungry so we drove past the Indian museum and went to Bradford Junction for a late lunch. This was 22 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.

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  Mt.Kearsage State Park, New Hampshire
Feb 25 1990


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