Monday, August 4, 2008

Road Trippin' In the Northeast: New Hampshire Strikes Back!

New Hampshire Strikes Back!

Click on the pic above to see all of the NH picks!

So, just 3 hours after returning home from The Philadelphia Adventure our party lost Timmy Tim Tim etc. and gained my mom and the Herzl-Betz Auxiliaries, Greg and Danielle, for the journey North. The trip was pleasant- we had pretty good weather, and the only stops we made were for coffee and beer. The latter was due to an urgent request from Siegi and my dad, who had already driven up to NH on their motorcycles and were tired from cleaning. Oh, and there was something about a radioactive bat as well, but I've forgotten that bit...

We got to NH very late, around 2:30 in the morning, and promptly fell asleep. It was probably due to this that we didn't get started on our first hike the next morning until about noon. By that time the sky had become cloudy and a light drizzle had begun falling sporadically. Siegi and my dad, who had gotten up early, joked that everything had been perfect between 7 and 11 that morning- the buffalo had been out, the sky had been blue, unicorns were spotted on the hills, etc.

Still, events would prove that our delay was quite fortuitous. We decided to climb Mt. Sugarloaf, a relatively easy hike located in the White Mountains that takes less than an hour to ascend and is often covered in wild blueberries. As we followed the trail, we noticed little plastic bags hanging from some of the trees. Inside the bags were envelopes titled "I Love Megan" and sealed in wax with a heart. Sensing ridiculousness, I was naturally very curious as to what was going on.

The terrain was quite slippery and muddy thanks to the rain, but eventually all of us, including the little dog, made it up the mountain, when the sun decided to come out and play again. At the top we found a small tarp with another of the letters hanging outside of it... and inside of it, a white dress. Traversing the bald top of the mountain, we discovered a table set up with champagne glasses, a mound of portable cooking equipment and supplies, and a man putting on a tuxedo. Apparently the man had decided to propose to his girlfriend of nine years after months of deciding how to do it properly. Seeing all of the effort and ingenuity that he had put into the proposal, I don't see how she could say no, especially considering how she was beaming when we encountered her on our descent. One thing was definitely for certain: this man has definitely set the bar for ridiculous proposals. I'm sure I'll find a way to top it when the time comes, but daaaaamn will it be difficult.

The remainder of our day was spent at our house playing games, as it rained the rest of the day except for between 7 and 11 at night. (dun dun DUN!) Munchkin was trotted out for a few short games, but the true game of the night was, as usual, Life. Every year that we have come up to New Hampshire we have played Life almost every night for time immemorial. Some of you may be wondering how we manage to be captured by this game. The answer: getting far, far too much into the details of exactly why everything is happening to you in the game. Some examples from our game on Saturday night: Greg began the game as the first member of his family to pursue higher education and became a very well paid policeman who caught people who ran too fast (spun a 10) and too slow (stock bought on 1), though his ire was directed more at the latter than the former. Unfortunately only a little bit after he had bought a home with his wife he was fired and forced to work as a police themed stripper to make his bills. To reflect this he declared that his wife was staying with her mother until he got back on track and removed her from the car. Later Greg got to switch salaries with another person, which was emblematic of his finally making it in a big budget action movie. His wife came back (he bought her pearls), and life was good... until I stole his salary, symbolizing his brief stardom and new life as a bit star. His loveless marriage resulted in no children (probably due to his wife leaving him during their younger years) and he unprofitably retired to a retirement home, where he spent the rest of his days wishing that he hadn't landed on that "You lose your job" space...

You can ask Rachel about my career in Life, because it's all her fault that I lost. Damn Tibetan orphans stealing all of my money and distracting my other 4 kids from their studies...

ANYWAY, on Saturday we traveled to Mt. Cabot and began our ascent early enough to get the majority of it done between 7 and 11, the magical hours when everything is awesome in NH. Mt. Cabot has a special place in the lore of the Herzl-Betzes, as it was on that mountain that our entire family almost died. When I was only 2 or 3 we were climbing the mountain when large black clouds came rolling in and unleashed great gouts of lightning and rain. I vividly remember running down the mountain as fast as my little legs could carry me as lightning and thunder crashed around us, visualizing a forcefield that would protect us all from the storm.

Therefore it was rather eerie when we found most of the trail to be overgrown and, due to the recent rains, basically a muddy stream bed. We joked that a curse had befallen the mountain the day we ran, but nervous glances at the sky affirmed that it was indeed still sunny out. The ascent was slow, as large swaths of mud and slippery rocks threatened to end us at every step. Greg, the dog and I got to show off Matrix-style wall running as we desperately tried to avoid sinking into the mud. We were partially successful- I still got one shoe pretty much filled with the muck, but still not bad considering.

We eventually made it to the lower outlook after about an hour and a half of hiking and enjoyed the spectacular view. After about a half an hour we glanced at our watches and noticed that it was already 10:30. We worriedly glanced at one another and slowly looked out across the valley. Sure enough, grey clouds could be spotted on the horizon as it was, after all, almost 11. The descent was much quicker than the ascent, and Greg, Siegi and I paused to wait for the girls at a stream crossing. The sun was shining, the water was refreshingly cool, so it was alright. After the girls finally arrived, I looked up through the trees and saw only grey. It was after 11.

Fortunately we managed to make it back to the car before the storm hit. After washing up back at the house, we headed into Littleton to do some shopping. Littleton, NH has two amazingly cool stores: the Village Bookstore, and Chutter's Candy Shop. The latter is famed for having the longest candy counter in the world, as you can see from the picture on the album. It's a pretty sweet place (no pun intended), with all sorts of random candies that you would never find anywhere else. For instance: watermelon flavored coconut bars; candy chews called Mint Juleps; and more fudge than you can shake a stick at, with flavors including Reese's.

The rest of the night was spent packing, as well as the next morning. Our drive home had a few interesting side quests, including:
- hurriedly dumping our trash in a dumpster behind a supermarket before the employees came back out
- Greg answering every single conceivable question about his choice to become a priest and what he can and can't do (the latter consists of two things: sex, and acting out against the Church)
- finding an incredibly hippie diner called the Moon Dog Cafe that served amazing curried chicken salad wraps and other food. Hell, they even made a ham and swiss sandwich amazing by piling on unbelievable amounts of those two ingredients. And they let the dog in!
- shredding my tongue, almost dislocating my jaw, and getting at least 3 times my daily sugar intake maximum, all from the same jumbo jawbreaker
- and ordering drive thru at the slowest Taco Bell in existence.

All in all, the trip was a lot of fun despite the rain. I also got to talk a lot with Greg about my superhero comic idea, and heard a lot about his possible plan of writing a story about aliens that are governed by Catholic morality and have found increasing amounts of faith as their technology level increased. Unfortunately I may have to borrow them for my comic and kill them... *sigh* Leave it to a guy called Dr. Wrath to destroy our first contact species to fulfill his twisted sense of protecting the Earth...

That's it for now; until next time...

"Travel has no longer any charm for me. I have seen all the foreign countries I want to except heaven & hell & I have only a vague curiosity about one of those."
- Mark Twain's Letter to W. D. Howells, 5/20/1891

1 comment:

Ben said...

Just noting that I'm highly entertained by your various adventures. Especially realistic-Life! Yay!