Monday, November 15, 2010

Chain Lakes Loop Part 1

When Mel and I arrived at Artist Point, my stomach was in knots.  I’m not really used to doing things on my own—I was married at 18, so I’ve never really known anything about self-reliance.  But here I was…not exactly the lone ranger, but not with someone I expected to take care of things either. I don’t think Mel would be insulted by me saying that…clearly, neither of us knew what the heck we were doing; but that was kind of the beauty of it.  There was such a wonderful feeling of mutual uncertainty / excitement / misgiving…but a desire to prove ourselves as well.  Not one leading the other, but both of us wanting this experience as equals; that’s what I appreciated the most.  But when we stepped out of that car and it was frickin’ freezing, I was really wondering if we had made a serious mistake.  We looked at each other with the same thought on our faces—“This is a lot colder than I expected”.  We put on every extra item of clothing that was in the car. (thank you Jamie for forgetting your coat the week prior)

I was trying so hard to be ‘prepared’… I thought it would be a good idea to hide an extra key with the car—just in case.  As we set it on the front bumper, it fell down into who knows where—oblivion apparently, because we never found it.  (So typical…and not exactly something to instill confidence)  But we headed out with much apprehension anyway. 

We discussed gear for a while…her gear that is, because everything I was using belonged to her family.  To my benefit, her husband had not learned hiking lesson #2, which is:  go ahead and buy the more expensive piece of equipment you really want, because you will only be ending up buying it later anyway.  This will be a lesson I’ll be sure to fail, because I’m as cheap as they come. (as everyone who knows me will attest)  But thankfully Rick (Mel’s husband) is slow to learn it as well…and that means they have a lot of extra equipment to loan out.  (thank you Rick!)

Eventually me and Mel got to the fork in the road where we were going to hide our packs and do part of another trail (Ptarmigan Ridge, for anyone who cares) when we bumped into another pair of hikers who were speaking, of all things, Dutch.  Being a proud person of Scandinavian decent, Mel seized the opportunity to strike up a conversation. (in English, thankfully) We asked questions, they asked questions, and ultimately we ended up getting a couple of great pieces of advice; one of them being to cheat on the last 2 miles of our hike and hitch a ride back to our car.  I love him for planting that seed in Mel’s head…because her ‘you have to do it the hardest way’ brain would have never accepted this idea otherwise; and we never would have make it home in time to pick up the kids from school if we hadn’t. 

This little interaction with the Dutch couple is what I call ‘the community of hikers’, and it’s what I most look forward to when/if I do the Appalachian Trail.  When I read people’s stories (here is a great journaling website of people who are hiking: …the “Canadian Geese” are thus far my favorite; what an adorable couple) this is what they say they love most about their experience—meeting people.  What a beautiful thing.  I’ll finish up our hike next blog…I’m going to drag this thing out like nobody’s business.  (I have all winter with nothing else to talk about, remember?)


  1. I sooooo enjoy your endearing sense of humor, Kelly! Awaiting the next chapter....xoxox

  2. Reading your blog is just like talking to you on the phone... seriously, I talk to your blog! Wait, should I admit that? Love you.

  3. Kelly did you guys stay overnight? Where is this hike? Love your writing style. You should really think about some side line job in the field of writing. Will stay tunned.