A Fine and Pleasant Misery, part 2

“The rollicking old fireside songs originated in the efforts of other campers to drown out the language of the cook and prevent it from reaching the ears of little children. Meat roasted over a campfire was either raw or extra well done, but the cook usually came out medium rare.”

Patrick McManus – A Fine and Pleasant Misery

On Monday, the weather finally relented. My brother had arrived the previous night, along with darkness. I had visions of sneaking off to go hike Mt. Chocorua, which has been mocking me incessantly since we turned back half a mile from the summit for some lame reasons like, “Running out of water”, “Thunderstorms approaching” and “Knee desperately needs surgery for major tendon tears”. But there was a mass mutiny by the menfolk at the though of it, so I compromised.

In the shadow of the granite mountains

We decided to do the Boulder Loop Trail, which was marked at 3 miles, and moderate. I have to remember that the person who rated the trails in my guidebook is a sadist, who definitely never hiked the trails with a four year old. The hike became even more exciting when the folks at the front of the trail, too absorbed in discussions, failed to keep with the trail and we accidentally headed on a path designed to take us straight up the granite cliff faces.

I fell – with my camera and my youngest child – and the pictures stop at this point. Oh, I took another two hundred and fifty… the camera works fine. But somehow those two hundred and fifty are not ON the memory card. I know they got written because the ID has incremented, and I’d used digital filters on some. I had given them up for lost, but when I was whining about it last night one of my friends who works with digital recovery volunteered to see if they were really gone, so hope remains. The camera mysteriously began working again as we left White Lake.

Anyway, it wasn’t a LONG fall, but it was enough to point out to us that perhaps we were not on the right path. We did eventually rediscover our route and the path, but the rest of it took on the aspect of a bit of a forced march for the littlest one. Coupled with his complete lack of fear of heights … (I wish I could show you want that meant, suffice it to say we were very high and the fall was very long) … it was not a restful hike. But it was fun! And we did it! And Grey hardly complained at all!

That night, we finally could sit around the campfire. We sang songs, quoted poems, and read some McManus aloud to great hilarity. Grey stayed awake, from the tent, for much of the McManus. I’m hopeful from the chortling within the tent that the great man’s wisdom might transfer to yet another generation. There were stars to be seen on the walk to and from the Sanitation Center.

The traditional first and last stop of the camping trip

Tuesday, as we broke camp, was some of the finest weather I’ve seen in many a day. It was sixty-five, clement and bright. Perfect. I tried to console myself, as we folded the barely-soggy tarps, that this made the breaking up that much easier to do. But in truth, it had finally gotten good, and so it was time to go.


Today, a weekend later, we have a heatwave going on, with temperatures above 90 for three days in a row. And I find myself wondering, WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS NEXT TO A LAKE!??! But looking back on my adventures, I’m forced to conclude… it was indeed a Fine and Pleasant Misery.

I can’t wait to go again!


Again, you can see what pictures remain of the trip here.

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