Tuesday, August 13, 2013

But I Got Wise

8/10: 8.5 miles from Hanover, NH to Mink Brook

8/11: 14.8 miles to the peak of Smarts Mountain

8/12: 10.3 miles to NH 25A and hitch to Mt. Cube Sugar Farm


There is a dangerous affliction on trail that people rarely speak of. People talk about bears, venomous snakes, lyme disease, cliffs, dehydration, Noro Virus, etc. But there is an insidious infection that plagues every hiker at least one time on the trail. This is a curable disease, one that rarely ails the general public for more than a day at a time. But here, in the wide wilderness, there is no respite. No escape. I've had Elvis' "Devil in Disguise" stuck in my head for the past 3 days, and it shows no sign of budging.

On trail, there are hours that will pass with no human interaction except between your brain and... your brain. This lends itself to all sorts of spontaneous introspection, random surfacing of memories, and the sudden and total guerrilla takeover of your consciousness via earworm music. Sometimes I can trace the mind threads back to find where the song came from. For instance, I cannot walk through a swamp without Pete Townshend suddenly appearing in my brain to tell me about Baba O'Riley ad nauseum. Like I said, usually it's awesome at first. 

But then, the cycle begins. Your brain reaches a part of the song where the pathway is murky, where you cannot remember the words quite right. Yet the melody marches on, an unhinged mental orchestra, and your mind decides just to start the lyrics back over again. In the real world, the solution to this is just to find the song online and listen to it all the way through to break the cycle. 

But here, in the woods? 

You have only your fallible brain. 

And your brain doesn't care if you've gotten wise and figured out that she's the devil in disguise over and over and over again; you're still going to be drawn in by her looking, walking and talking like an angel. They make movies about the world post-apocalypse, but they leave out the fact that while someone is getting chased by zombies, they probably have The Cranberries crooning madly in their head as they try to outrun the inevitable.

What I'm trying to say is that even though I want very badly to write you a well-articulated blog post about the past few days, my mind is bogged down by Elvis crooning at me in his low thrum, pointing his finger at me and gyrating his hips, belying my devilry to the world. 

Or maybe I've just been hit by a sudden case of The Lazy and this is my long-winded excuse. 

Regardless, I am going to give you a bullet-point list of some things that have happened, because my writing brain is struggling like a semi-truck going up a mountain in a molasses flood. Big rock candy mountain, indeed.


- Got to Hanover, treated to a spectacular brunch by Pretzel's visiting parents, Judy and Phil! Pretzel, Cascade and Hugs then rejoined Funky Town in Hanover

- Met up with a visiting friend of mine, MELISSA, who I love with all of my loving atoms. She is my best friend from high school and lives in the area. She spent all day with us hiker trash (as well as her manfriend Mattie), and never once wrinkled her nose at our smelly pits.

- Was also visited by Moped, a 2010 Thru-Hiker Alumnus who I know through our mutual friend, Lauren! Moped stayed with us in town on Friday night! He answered all of our hiker questions and was generous of spirit and laughter.


- Played baseball with sticks and crab apples. The Hunger may have broken a finger.

- Moped hiked in fresh vegetables and a huge pot, camped with us and cooked us a 3 pounds of pasta (it was 3 pounds before cooking, so god only know how much it was afterward). He also cooked us fresh sauce in a 60-year-old pot that had been given to his parents as a wedding gift, and had been taken with them in the Peace Corps while they were dodging the draft for the Vietnam War. It was good sauce.



- Camped at the top of a huge mountain, hiked above tree line, and sat in a fire tower to watch the sunset. After the darkness settled, the height of the Perseid Meteor Shower sent hundreds of meteors burning through the endless sky overhead. The blanket of stars was so thick that it looked like a black frozen pond at night, collecting the first layer of snowfall.


- Hiked through a beautiful day, and ended the evening at a maple sugar farm a few miles off-trail. It was only M3OWZ3BA at the farm, and they let us sleep on the floor in the old sugar house. It smelled like the inside of christmas. Jimmy, the caretaker, let us have full run of the old house, and we pretended we were a ragamuffin band of New England maple sugar farmers, cooking dinner in the little kitchen. This charming fantasy lasted up until the point when The Hunger accidentally maced all of us by sauteing a habanero pepper. We all were coughing and teary-eyed, clutching our stomachs and laughing. I dreamt of maple candy.

Clever Girl

Me and Melissa!



Grim with steri-pen to sterilize water, or, as Moped calls it, "light-sabering"

Me and Moped!

Down the firetower at dinner-makers




Oh, Hunger.

I fell down.

The Mt. Cube Sugar Farm

Our bedroom

The Attic

Jimmy made pancakes for us in the morning!


  1. I can relate. I drove down to Georgia over Memorial Weekend to hike the first thirty miles of the trail, and for six hours of driving, I listed to Tom Petty Radio on Sirius.

    So he sang "You Wreck Me" over and over in my head all the way from Springer Mountain on Day one until I got pick up at Mountain Crossings a few days later.

    The best way to get rid of an annoying earworm is to start humming 'Toms Diner' by Suzanne Vega. It'll kill off any song in your head. Of course, then you're stuck with that annoying-ass song, so maybe the cure is worse than the disease...

  2. Oh my gosh, we are so jealous of your excellent meteor shower viewing. I thought of you guys that night hoping it was clear for you. It was not to be so for us. :-( Your writing is growing leaps and bounds. It is so entertaining. The photos are beautiful. I find too the only way to knock that song right out of my head is my itunes playing loud. Enjoy your days and nights in what we think is one of the most beautiful parts of the country. We love you bunches and miss you as much! Mom & Dad

  3. So glad you got to see the meteor shower! The conditions were perfect. Picture and stories so well done per norm. Mt. Cube farm looks awesome. You've sure met some nice folks on the trail! We love and miss you bunches...see you soon! Love, Mom and Dad

  4. Hi Clever Girl!

    I met you on the trail on Sunday at Smart's Mountain in the parking lot, I am Apple Butter's friend and the one who had the snickers.. ha ha and the one catch kept telling me his name was David Kim, shame on him. lol

    Anyway just wanted to say it was great to meet you all and I will be keeping up with the blog, hang in there and take care of that foot and one last thing I promised to fill you in I loved the WHITES. WOW. NH is amazing. :)

  5. ahhhhh. you and melissa are so beautiful! aaahhhhhh.
    xoxo. L.