HIke

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Hike

My wife and I met on a dating service. This was before the time of Internet dating so our meeting was via a telephone service, back in 1995. I subscribed to Tele-Dating or something like that, left my recorded message and was given a “postal box” where interested ladies could leave their message along with their box number or telephone number.

My first attempt didn’t bring too many interested “customers”. I had spoken my message quickly and perhaps it had come out a bit jumbled. One evening, while watching television in my small apartment living room/office, I had a strong intuition to try again but this time to try harder.

I wrote the message down, including a line about my fondness of hiking. I took my time, reread my message, and read it into the phone for all to hear.

The response was much better. In a matter of days, I had about 12 interested ladies giving me their phone numbers or their box number to call back. I subsequently went on a few dates.

One of the women who called me would eventually be my girlfriend; I soon moved into her place and we got married less than two years later. We’ve been together now for 18 years.

One of the things that Naomi really liked about my message was mentioning my love of hiking.

It’s nice to know that things haven’t changed that much. Yesterday, Naomi and I and a close friend went hiking in the hills of Northern Vermont, at Hazen’s Notch, not far from Montgomery Center.

It was only a 40-minute or so drive from home, so why had it taken 14 years to discover this place? Hazen’s Notch, while easily available on the Internet, doesn’t advertise itself too much once you get there. It’s pretty hidden, in fact, and we had to ask for directions from someone who reluctantly showed us the way.

But the way up to the summit of Burnt Mountain was beautifully marked and kept up. It’s obvious that the members of the Hazen’s Notch Association love their hiking paths.

We could have just as easily hiked up the Long Trail, the famous 272 mile hiking trail and the oldest long-distance trail in the United States, which starts at the Quebec border and goes to the very south of Vermont. But I had done that before and noticed that on many trails, whose trailheads begin on either side of a remote Vermont highway, you go up the mountain, and then, running out of time, you go back down the mountain from where you started. The nice scenic lookouts are often only available if you’re continuing your trek with a backpack and are planning on camping over a night or two.

MAP

This hike took us through lovely mountain meadows, reminding me slightly of a hike I did with Naomi in Switzerland many years ago. Yes, we eventually started climbing, and with the thick canopy of leaves overhead there wasn’t much to see.

But the air was cool, there weren’t too many bugs, and we had the trail to ourselves, it being a holiday in Quebec and the middle of the week.

I was too concerned anyway, with my heart, which wasn’t quite used to the workout. I have continued exercising since the heart operation in March, from which it took 12 weeks to recover, but ten minutes on a step machine doesn’t come remotely close to approximating the exercise one gets climbing a mountain.

I often had to stop and let my heartbeat slow down and I actually felt a pain in it as it pumped away. But I wanted to believe it was a healing pain, not something to worry about. I worried anyway and paid close attention to it, and slowed my pace in ascending the mountain.

Finally, I reached the summit and waited for Naomi and our friend. Who never showed up. I heard some voices approaching. “Hi Ron,” a tall man – a complete stranger – said to me when he came into view, heading a group of about nine middle-aged hikers. “Naomi says to come down, they’re waiting for you.”

Too bad, the view of the surrounding hills and mountains was splendid.

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