We made it! A Lymie girl and an aging brown dog made it to the top of one of our favorite local hikes and not only survived but thrived.
After a week of ass-dragging fatigue that made me wish several times that I could skip work and stay at home, Saturday morning arrived with me still feeling tired, a bit gloomy and contemplating my choices of morning activities with less feeling of possibility than usual. “I need to get out and move, maybe the Waldron Woods river walk would help me feel better and not overtax my energy”, I thought. Meanwhile, my more ambitious husband asked if I wanted to climb Chesley Mt. I somewhat cautiously agreed with the idea that we could turn around if it felt like too much. (For perspective, Chesley Mt. only takes 30 minutes to climb and normally would be something we would fit into a busy day’s agenda without much thought.)
We headed out early while the morning was still cloudy and cool. Our 12 year old lab bounded out of the car with excitement and then quickly slowed to her more typical old dog pace. Off in the woods I could hear my favorite bird song, a Hermit Thrush, and the distant tapping of a woodpecker. As we neared the end of the dirt entrance road a sea of coreopsis greeted us where the landowner had put in a wild flower planting to soften the scars of the gravel that she had mined and sold off.
As we entered the hiking trail and I followed the slow but steady pace of my dog I thought, “I can do this.” We are a perfect hiking pair, a recovering Lyme girl and an aging dog both relishing being out doing one of our favorite things, being in the woods. One unrushed step at a time, we will make it to the top. The south-side trail we took was perfect, alternating between short bursts of elevation gain with breaks of more gentle flatter areas as it curved around the backside of the mountain which meant the length of actual steady climbing would be relatively short compared to the northern approach.
As we scampered up the last steep section we were treated to a grand surprise. The first blueberries growing in the shallow soils between the flanks of exposed granite were turning blue! An even greater surprise, they were plump and sweet and warming from the sun just emerging from the clouds. I eagerly picked them and popped them in my mouth (healing natural medicine, organic and full of antioxidants) and gave thanks for the unexpected treat. A short time later, we sat at the top and I found a spot that looked like it was dry and tick free. As I lay there soaking in the sun’s warmth on my skin and making some vitamin D I was grateful to my husband for asking me to take this hike that could have over-stretched my energy but instead helped me to feel some of my normal physical strength and to enjoy nature’s healing bounty. Our old dog was happy too. She explored the scents along the trail and immersed herself in her favorite water holes plunging her face and neck into the water and bending to dip her chest into the refreshing coolness. She stood looking up at us, water dripping from her fur with a wide, toothy dog smile on her face.