Funny thing about 2020 and trying to escape technology. You can't. At the first clearing before the first peak there were tons of folks with their phones out blowing through selfies. A young couple to my right must have taken a dozen in just one spot. Hordes of young women especially, and on both peaks would get as close to the edges of a precipice as they could, stand in profile and grin for the best possible Instagram photo.
I couldn't escape technology's grip even in the forest. But that was okay I guessed, because escape was just one goal, the more important goal was finding my best friend. My dad. Gone now over eight years.
Light through the dark pines.
My dad brought me and my brother Dana on our first hike in New Hampshire. I was young and nervous but at a shade beyond 5'6' my dad was the biggest man I knew, and never seemed worried about anything. "You can do this." he'd say when he saw doubt creep across my young eyes. I was just 7 or 8 years old and not exactly brimming with confidence. Part of the fear was because my mom was nervous when she dropped us off that morning. And all cards on the table, I was a nervous sort to begin with. If my mom was worried that was good enough for me.
We actually bushwhacked up the mountainside without even knowing there was a trail. Dad just kept his eyes toward the peak (when we could see it) and with dead-reckoning got us to the top. Wide-eyed and a bit scared my fear disappeared when we came out and excitement took its place. There, Lake Winnipesaukee stretched out before us as I had never seen it. It offered the magnificent view of a 21st century drone long before drones were even conceptualized.
And at that instant I found a love of the woods, mountain peaks, the vistas they offered, and gained an understanding that pushing through fear will often be worth it. As my dad had likely intended.